Hawgs slap Vanderbilt, 82-67

NASHVILLE-- Gary Ervin scored 21 and Patrick Beverley added 20 as Arkansas defeated a flat Vanderbilt team, 82-67. The game was the final home game for Commodores seniors Derrick Byars, Dan Cage and Ted Skuchas.

Michael Washington, who made his first 3-point shots of the season during the game, made 2 three-pointers early to give his team a 20-15 lead. Vanderbilt trailed throughout the first half as poor shooting and sloppy execution limited the Commodore's offensive production. After Derrick Byars fouled Stefan Welsh on a 3-point attempt, Welsh made 3 free throws to give the Razorbacks their biggest lead of the half at 36-22 with 1:45 remaining. Later Byars' 3-pointer closed out first half scoring with the Commodores trailing 38-26.

In the second half Vanderbilt traded baskets with Arkansas for much of the half until the final minutes of the game. Vanderbilt adjusted their lineup and went to a zone defense, which enabled the Commodores to finally pull to within 7 at 58-51 on two Dan Cage free throws with 7:30 remaining. A George Drake field goal got the Commodores to within 5 at 60-55 with 6:15 left. However, Vanderbilt managed to score only 4 points over the next 4 minutes which allowed Arkansas to build a 10 point lead with 2 minutes left in the game. The Razorbacks made 9 of 10 free throws over the final 2 minutes to seal the upset win.

"I can't say that I'm surprised. I don't know if the senior day festivities had much to do with it. I don't think this team was complacent. . . I just know we didn't have the kind of energy level we needed," said Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings after the game. Stallings had earlier mentioned that his team did not practice well on Friday.

Vanderbilt recognized seniors Derrick Byars, Dan Cage and Ted Skuchas during a pre game ceremony before the game.

Vanderbilt fell to 20-10 (10-6 SEC) with the loss and has now lost 8 consecutive final regular season games since the 2000 season. The Commodores will next play in the SEC Tournament in Atlanta on Friday. The opponent is to be determined. Arkansas improves to 18-12 (7-9 SEC). The Hawgs will also play next in the SEC Tournament.

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