Hot-shooting Arkansas pulled away for an 86-73 win over Vanderbilt in the first round of the Southeastern Conference tournament on Wednesday night in Nashville.
Guards Mason Jones (22 points), Desi Sills (20), Isaiah Joe (18), and Jimmy Whitt Jr. (12) led the Razorbacks (20-12) in scoring. Arkansas was 12 of 28 (42.9 percent) from 3-point range and forced 14 turnovers.
Guards Saben Lee (20), Scotty Pippen Jr. (16) and Jordan Wright (10) paced the Commodores (11-21). Forward Dylan Disu added 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Jones’s fast-break layup off a Pippen turnover gave Arkansas its biggest lead (45-28) to that point with 16:51 left.
The lead hit 20 for the first time after Sills canned a 3 from the right side with 14:52 left.
Lee fueled an 11-2 Vanderbilt run with a fast-break dunk, a rattled-in 3-pointer, a driving layup and a free throw that got the Commodores within 59-48.
Sills answered with a 3-pointer and Jones added two free throws after a steal to push the lead back to 16 with 7:49 left.
Vanderbilt cut it to 10 but Joe canned a 3-pointer with 2:06 left for the dagger.
Arkansas, thanks to 14 points from Jones, led by double digits for much of the first half and had a 38-26 edge at the break.
Pippen hit a deep 3 to open the game, but then the Razorbacks rattled off the game’s next 10 points — seven by Joe — before a Pippen free throw broke the drought.
Vandy started 2 of 21 from the field, with six turnovers thrown in, allowing Arkansas to jump out to a 25-9 lead in the first 15 minutes.
Arkansas’s combination of driving layups and 3-pointers — the Razorbacks were 6 of 16 behind the arc in the first period — proved tough for Vanderbilt to guard.
Vandy stayed in it thanks to an 11-for-14 showing from the line before halftime, with Lee canning all six of his tries.
The SEC announced before the game that fans won’t be permitted to attend the rest of the tournament after Wednesday’s opening round.
—Field Level Media