Macon tops 20-point mark again in Arkansas win over Vandy
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) Daryl Macon had plenty of work left to do at halftime if he hoped to reach the 20-point plateau for a seventh straight game.
Like most everything the Arkansas guard sets his mind to these days, Macon found his touch in the second half of the Razorbacks 72-54 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday night.
Macon finished with 21 points in the comfortable victory for Arkansas (17-8, 6-6 Southeastern Conference), extending his 20-point scoring binge to seven games and closing in on matching former Razorbacks great Corliss Williamson’s streak of eight straight games with at least 20 points.
Williamson’s scoring stretch came during Arkansas’ national championship season of 1993-94. Macon’s, meanwhile, has come during a critical time for a Razorbacks team desperately trying to reach the NCAA Tournament for a third time in four seasons – even if he isn’t paying all that much attention to his personal scoring numbers.
Macon had only six points at halftime on an uncharacteristic 2-of-8 shooting for the SEC’s fifth-leading scorer. The senior, however, responded in the second half by scoring 15 points and hitting 4 of 5 3-pointers to help the Razorbacks win their second straight after disappointing road losses at Texas A&M and LSU last week.
”It was never on my mind; it could end any night,” Macon said. ”I’m not the guy who’s just going to go chase points, but if it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, oh well. I just want the win.”
He had plenty of help from teammates Jaylen Barford and Daniel Gafford, who finished with 16 points apiece for Arkansas. Barford was 4 of 6 on 3-pointers, while the 6-foot-11 Gafford added to his freshman season full of highlights by adding nine rebounds and seven blocks – along with a spectacular windmill dunk near the end of the game.
Jeff Roberson, Saben Lee, Maxwell Evans, Riley LaChance and Larry Austin Jr. led the Commodores (9-16, 3-9) with eight points each in the loss.
Vanderbilt shot only 25 percent (14 of 56) and had no answers for either Macon, Barford or Gafford – who also added a pair of steals.
”Gafford, I thought, was the big difference in the game,” Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew said. ”Not just his scoring and rebounding, but his rim protecting. He took away a lot of easy baskets for us.”
The Razorbacks finished with 15 turnovers in the win. Five of those came on Arkansas’ first five offensive possessions, much to the dismay of coach Mike Anderson. ”I was like, `Whose team is this, who is coaching this team,”’ Anderson said. ”That’s what I was saying to myself. ”But we were able to pull it back together.”
Vanderbilt: The Commodores shot a season-best 55.1 percent in their 81-66 win over Georgia earlier in the week. On Saturday, they were unable to follow up that hot shooting – making only 4 of 26 shots (15.4 percent) in the first half while surrendering a 15-0 run and falling behind 28-21 at halftime.
Arkansas: Macon’s streak of 20-point games began with a 20-point effort in a win over Mississippi on Jan. 20, and the senior will try and match Williamson’s streak when the Razorbacks once again face the Rebels on Tuesday. Macon entered the game second in the SEC in scoring in only league games, behind only Barford.
Vanderbilt hosts Mississippi State on Wednesday.
The Razorbacks are at Mississippi on Tuesday.
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