On a night when Arkansas’ usual scorers weren’t, Jimmy Whitt, Jr., stepped up big and Reggie Chaney got out of the doghouse and paced a 75-55 win over Vanderbilt at Bud Walton Arena.
Whitt had a collegiate career-high 30 points while Chaney got 14 points. Chaney alone scored one point more than the Razorbacks’ usual scorers Isaiah Joe (12) and Mason Jones (1).
The Commodores came in pretty much ready to not let Joe and Jones have their usual big nights.
“They did a great job of crowding Mason and crowding Isaiah, which allowed Reggie to get some looks around the rim,” Hogs coach Eric Musselman said later. “It certainly allowed Jimmy, as well.”
Whitt just thought getting his big number was, well, cool. Especially doing it where he started his career before transferring to SMU before returning this season as a graduate transfer.
“It was cooler that I did it here rather than anywhere else, being able to come in my last year and reach a milestone like that in front of the fans I started with, I think it hit me right there and that was the coolest part for me,” Whitt said.
Chaney simply hadn’t been playing well and saw his playing time virtually disappear after a horrible game at LSU that included a technical for slapping the ball that had clearly ticked off Musselman.
He had to play his way back into what is admittedly a small rotation of seven or eight players on a big night. Musselman clearly had questions about him.
“I knew I had to earn that trust back,” Chaney said later. “In practice I’ve been going really hard.
“He still believed in me tonight and played me, so I went in and I had to do what I had to do. Tonight I came in and gave my best hustle and earned a little bit of his trust back.”
Arkansas needed it.
First half notes
• Chaney scored eight points off the bench with 7:10 to play in the first half. His season high coming into the game was six on two occasions He had only scored eight points the previous five games combined.
• Arkansas used a 12-3 run from 9:53 to 2:39 to go up nine, 29-20.
• Vandy’s Maxwell Evans answered with an old-fashioner 3-point play and a 3-point for the Commodores.
• Desi Sills got Arkansas back on track with a 3-pointer. The teams traded baskets and the Hogs lead by six, 34-28, at the break.
• Whitt scored 17 first-half points, including two dunks. He was also credited with his first 3-point attempt of the season, a desperation shot as the buzzer sounded to end the half.
• Chaney finished with eight points and Sills had seven with a team-best five rebounds.
Second half notes
• The Commodores got within four, 37-33, with 17:24 in the second half. The Razorbacks answered with an 8-0 run — its largest run of the game — to take a 12-point lead. The Hogs led by double digits the final 16:10 of the game.
• Joe hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Whitt had a dunk for the run.
• Arkansas’ starting lineup was Whitt, Joe, Sills. Jones and Adrio Bailey for the 15th time this season.
• Arkansas won the tip. It was the ninth time in 16 games. Arkansas is 7-2 in such games.
• Bailey scored the first points of the game on two free throws at 19:17. Arkansas has scored first 11 times and is 9-2 in such games. It was the first time Bailey scored the team’s first points.
• Arkansas out-rebounded Vanderbilt 38-30. It was just the fourth time Arkansas has out-rebounded an opponent this season.
• Vanderbilt entered the game first in the SEC in 3-point percentage (.375) and second in the SEC in 3-pointers made (9.5). The Razorbacks held Vandy to just 5-of-20 (25%).
• Arkansas leads the NCAA in 3-point field goal percentage defense (22.8%).
• Vanderbilt had zero steals. They entered the game fifth in the SEC by averaging 7.6 steals per game. The last time an Arkansas opponent had zero steals was North Texas on Jan. 3, 2004.
• Arkansas tied a season high with 19 assists. They also had 19 in the season-opener against Rice.
• Arkansas shot a season-low 53.3% from the free throw line (8-of-15). The Razorbacks were 29th in the NCAA in free throw percentage entering the game.
• Arkansas is 3-1 in SEC play for the first time since 2015-16. Arkansas will be looking for its first 4-1 in SEC play since opening 9-1 in league play in 1997-98.
• Arkansas is 14-2 overall for the first time since 1997-98 as well. The ’97-98 team lost game 17 to fall to 14-3.
• All 12 Razorbacks saw game action.
Information, notes, from Razorback Sports Communications are included in this story.