Vanderbilt's inspired run in the SEC Tournament came to end in the semifinals, after facing a talented Arkansas team that was clicking on all cylinders and put it to the Commodores in a 76-62 championship advancing game.
The Razorbacks were clearly the fresher team and knew that headed into the contest. Arkansas took an early lead that was eventually lost to the Commodores at 11-10 but that would be the final time that the Hogs would find themselves behind.
Vanderbilt battled fatigued the entire game and fought hard enough to only be down 35-31 at halftime. A glimmer of hope was there as the Dores headed into the locker room but whatever hope they had was quickly put to bed as the 2nd half got started.
Arkansas quickly blew the doors off the game and never looked back. Led by guard Jaylen Barford, the Hogs scored at will against the Commodores defense. Whether it was from deep or driving it to the basket, Arkansas was able to score in anyway possible and a lot of that had to the do with the tired legs of the Vanderbilt players.
When you are tired and you can't shoot, that's one thing but it's another when you can't guard and Vanderbilt struggled doing both of those things on Saturday afternoon.
After a quick 10-0 run to start the 2nd half, Arkansas continued to score and score some more. Vanderbilt did everything they could to come back. A 13-0 run at the end of the game, brought the Commodores to within 14 points but it was all for not.
Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson knew he had to make the game chaotic for the Dores as they were playing their 3rd game in three days. Their game plan worked to perfection. Vanderbilt tried hard but just did not have the energy. Junior guard Riley LaChance led the Commodores in scoring with 12 points but was 2-7 from the field along with having four turnovers. For the entire game, Vanderbilt shot a pour 30.4% from the field. They couldn't get anything to drop and a lot of that had to do with being gassed.
Vanderbilt will now sit back and await their destiny. As of today, the Commodores are considered a lock for the NCAA Tournament with a record of 19-15 overall and strength of schedule sitting at No. 2 and an RPI within the top 30. It appears that Vanderbilt has done enough to receive a bid but you never know, so eyes will be glued to the television at 4:30 pm Central.
Overall, it was a good showing by the Commodores in the SEC Tournament. They ran out of gas playing three games in three days but it was great effort by the team that has now probably solidified their status in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.