Washington Performs Like He Does In Practice

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Some days, Stan Heath just stands puzzled. He watches freshman Michael Washington take over in practice, and he wonders why Washington can't perform similarly during games.

"If you ever watch a practice, you scratch your head saying, 'Wow, this kid's got so much ability. When is it going to happen?'" Heath said.

Arkansas' coach can't be baffled like that anymore. It has happened all week.

Washington posted a career-high 15 points in Arkansas' 82-67 win Saturday at Vanderbilt, contributing in a crucial way for the second consecutive game.

Washington was one of the first two Razorbacks off the bench, alongside fellow freshman Stefan Welsh, and entered Saturday's game with 14:03 left in the first half.

In his first stint on the Memorial Gymnasium court, Washington played just more than five minutes. He drained two 3-pointers, launching them without hesitation. A few of Washington's teammates said they were likely the first of many long-distance shots the 6-foot-10 forward would make in his Arkansas career.

"We've been seeing a whole lot of that in practice," said freshman teammate Patrick Beverley.

Later in the half, Washington snagged an offensive rebound and scored on a layup. In the second half, Washington played eight more minutes.

He added seven points and three more rebounds, giving him career-highs in rebounds (six) and minutes (19), as well.

"I've just been confident," Washington said. "My teammates have confidence in me, and I want to help them win."

Stallings Pulls Starters

Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings couldn't stomach the effort his starters were giving early in the second half.

So he yanked them. Four starters, all but Dan Cage, came out of the game just one minute, 16 seconds after halftime. The quartet stayed on the bench until the 14:09 mark, when Stallings brought potential SEC Player of the Year Derrick Byars back into the contest.

"We weren't getting the energy that we normally get out of the first team," Stallings said. "I had given them a better part of the first half to try and get something going and they didn't. I think some of it was senior night, but they were a step off of their usual energy level."

Backcourt Paces Scoring

The starting backcourt of junior Gary Ervin and Patrick Beverley combined for half (41) of Arkansas' points.

Ervin scored at least 20 points for the second consecutive game and converted several times in transition. He drained six of his 10 shot attempts and nailed seven of his eight free-throw tries. Beverley didn't shine from the field. He hit just four of his 11 shots, including just two of his nine 3-point attempts.

But he did help Arkansas seal the victory by making 10 of his 11 free throws.

"We know we can do that if needed," Ervin said. "I think we were patient, though. We picked our spots well."

Seeding, Opponent Scenarios

Arkansas will be either the No. 3 or No. 4 seed out of the Western Division at the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Atlanta.

If Mississippi State beats Alabama today, Arkansas will be seeded third and play Thursday at 2:15 p.m. against South Carolina (the SEC East's No. 6 seed). If Alabama wins today in Starkville, Arkansas will be seeded fourth and play Thursday at 6:30 p.m. against Georgia, the No. 5 seed from the East.

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