Qualls does it again
Sophomore's 3 gives Arkansas first road win
Arkansas guard Michael Qualls (24) watches his 3-pointer go in the basket with three seconds left on the clock giving Arkansas the lead in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. Also defending are Vanderbilt guard Dai-Jon Parker (24) and forward James Siakam (35). (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Michael Qualls made the game-winning dunk in Arkansas' earlier upset over Kentucky, and he hit the 3-pointer Saturday that lifted the Razorbacks to their first road victory of the season.
Qualls sank the 3-pointer with 4 seconds remaining as Arkansas (15-8, 4-6 Southeastern Conference) ended Vanderbilt's four-game win streak with its short-handed roster, 77-75.
"It feels big to know that I'm there when the team needs me, If they need me, to be there to try to make a play," Qualls said.
A week ago, Qualls was one of two Razorbacks suspended during the loss to LSU due to conduct detrimental to the team. The sophomore finished with 17 points against the Commodores (13-9, 5-5), who almost pulled off more Memorial magic with a late 12-0 run.
"I always want to be there for my team," Qualls said. ". I feel like this is the first game we came out and we played tenacious all 40 minutes, not 30, 25, we played all 40 minutes. We're just going to try to continue to do that and stay on that pace."
Coty Clarke added 14 points for the Hogs, Rashad Madden scored 12 and kicked out the pass on the winning shot, and Mardracus Wade added 11 points.
The Razorbacks' hot shooting (15 of 22 for 68 percent the first 16 minutes) and full-court press (nine first-half steals) wore on the Commodores' small roster. Vanderbilt played only eight including a walk-on due to injury, dismissal and departures.
"It was a tremendous basketball game played by two teams that when you talk about a clash of styles . But to their credit, they kept the pace for the most part, and made it really, really interesting," Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said.
"We were fortunate because we had the last possession and we executed a play coming out of that timeout. Mike knocked down a big shot, (Madden) made a great pass to him, something we hadn't been doing throughout the year. . We're learning how to win."
Rod Odom scored 22 points and Kyle Fuller had 20 points for Vanderbilt (13-9, 5-5). Fuller's two free throws with 11.6 seconds left gave the Commodores a 75-74 lead.
"He was playing his heart out, he wasn't going to let his team go down, made the free throws that put them back ahead," Anderson said. "Our guys did not panic, and that's a sign your team is growing up."
Odom missed a 3-point try on the buzzer that would have kept the Commodores' win streak alive.
"It was wide open, coach drew up a great play, I can't ask for a better shot than that in that situation," Odom said. "I thought I was going to make it."
Fuller hit one of two free throws and Siakam made an inside bucket as Vanderbilt went ahead 71-68 with 3 minutes left on the 12-0 run. Madden's 3-pointer, however, ended the Razorbacks' drought and evened the game at 71.
"I really thought we had this one, especially once we were up by three or four, I thought we had this one," Fuller said. "Madden hit a big shot to tie them up. It's frustrating."
Damian Jones scored 12 points for Vanderbilt, and Dai-Jon Parker had 11 including 3-for-4 from 3-point range.
Parker picked up his fourth foul with 16 minutes to go just after his 3-pointer pulled the Commodores within 51-48. Wade's three-point play on the foul pushed Arkansas back out to 54-48, and Bobby Portis stepped out for a 3-pointer for the largest lead at 57-48.
Fuller did a flip after being fouled on the break following Siakam's block, the basket dropped in and Fuller completed the three-point point play to cut it to 68-62. Vanderbilt then tied it after Siakam had two big defensive plays, stealing an interior pass before Odom's 3-pointer and taking a charge before Jones powered it in for a tie at 68.
"We were more locked in. We were taking the fight to them," VU Coach Kevin Stallings said. "They spent most of the afternoon taking the fight to us, which is why they won."
Clarke had 11 first-half points including nine straight on the way to a 20-17 Razorbacks lead. Arkansas scored seven straight points for a 27-19 lead on Qualls' first 3-pointer and two steals off the press that led to Jacorey Williams' back-to-back baskets.
Arkansas, which broke a two-game losing streak in Nashville against Vanderbilt, was playing in its new "anthracite" gray uniforms.
"We've been harping about wearing them all year," Madden said. "It was the perfect time, new season, new everything. It was a good time to bring them out and bring us energy."
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