Vanderbilt-Arkansas Preview

BY foxsports • January 9, 2015

Arkansas appears primed to take advantage of a home-heavy upcoming schedule after opening league play with a road victory.

The 23rd-ranked Razorbacks will try to continue their home dominance Saturday against Vanderbilt.

Arkansas (12-2, 1-0 SEC), looking to improve to 13-2 for the first time since 2004-05, has won nine of its 10 home games by at least 14 points while averaging 87.8 points. It is the only team in the conference to score at least 65 in each game.

The Razorbacks' 16-game home winning streak is tied with Kansas' for 10th longest in the country. They've won 16 of 18 at home in SEC play and are 46-3 there overall since 2012-13.

Their lone losses this season came at Iowa State and Clemson on Dec. 4 and 7, but they've won six straight since and opened conference play ranked for the first time since 1999.

Arkansas struggled early at Georgia on Tuesday, trailing by 13 in the first half, but took its first lead with 6:33 remaining in the game and outscored the Bulldogs 42-31 in the second half of a 79-75 victory.

Arkansas, 16-65 on the road since the start of 2006-07 compared to 130-29 at home, was 11 of 13 from the free-throw line after going 21 of 31 in its two losses. It also had 34 bench points after the reserves combined for 28 against the Cyclones and Tigers.

"It's a little tougher to do it on the road, but when you do it, it tells you a little bit about your team, the mental toughness, the physical toughness and just finding a win to win against a very good Georgia team," said coach Mike Anderson, who had his contract extended through 2019-20 earlier in the day.

Forward Bobby Portis scored a team-high 21 points.

The Razorbacks play six of their next nine at home and figure to be favored in all nine except perhaps a Jan. 31 visit to Florida.

They've won 11 of 13 home meetings with Vanderbilt, which has dropped 14 of 20 on the road in SEC play. Arkansas' Michael Qualls hit a 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left in a 77-75 win at Nashville on Feb. 8. The Razorbacks were 10 of 16 from beyond the arc.

The Commodores (11-3, 1-0) are looking for their first five-game winning streak since taking eight in a row Dec. 19, 2011-Jan. 19, 2012. They held Auburn to 30.5 percent shooting in a 64-52 home win Tuesday, posting a 47-27 advantage on the glass after outrebounding four of their previous 10 opponents.

"That's a new positive for us and that's a good positive," coach Kevin Stallings said. "If that becomes part of who we are that's certainly going to build in a better margin for error for our young team because we overcame 19 turnovers."

Arkansas is averaging a plus-9.3 rebounding margin during its six-game win streak.

Vanderbilt center Damian Jones (team-high 16.2 ppg) scored 11 and shot 3 of 9 against the Tigers, but three teammates scored in double figures to help compensate.

The Commodores have split two road games, losing 65-60 at Georgia Tech on Dec. 20 and winning 70-55 at Saint Louis on Jan. 31. Jones was a combined 9 of 22 from the field and committed six turnovers.

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