Gafford scores 28, Arkansas rallies past Vanderbilt 69-66

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Arkansas guard Keyshawn Embery-Simpson (11) tries to get past Vanderbilt defenders Matthew Moyer (13), Yanni Wetzell, (1) and Aaron Nesmith (24) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019 in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)

By CHIP SOUZA ,  Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Daniel Gafford scored 28 points to lead Arkansas to its fourth straight SEC win 69-66 over Vanderbilt on Tuesday night.

Arkansas (14-8, 5-4) rallied from a 10-point deficit late in the first half to hand the Commodores (9-13, 0-9) their ninth consecutive loss.

Vanderbilt led 28-18 on Aaron Nesmith’s pull-up jump shot from the lane with under four minutes left in the first half before Arkansas freshman Isaiah Joe went on a 3-point scoring barrage. Joe ended a three-minute stretch for the Razorbacks without a field goal with 2:57 left in the first half and drained four 3-pointers to pull Arkansas within 35-34 at halftime. Joe finished with 18 points.

Gafford, who was making just 57 percent of his free throws coming into the game, kept Arkansas in the game early by hitting 8-of-9 from the free-throw line in the first half.

The Razorbacks raced to a nine-point lead midway through the second half, then saw the lead evaporate as Vanderbilt’s Joe Toye hit three 3-pointers to help the Commodores go on a 12-2 run to retake the lead.

Vanderbilt’s last lead came with under a minute left when Toye, who had 18 points, hit his fourth 3-pointer of the second half for a 66-64 lead.

Arkansas answered on a clutch 3-pointer from Keyshawn Embery-Simpson and Mason Jones added two free throws with under 10 seconds left.

UP NEXT Vanderbilt: The Commodores will host Alabama at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Arkansas: The Razorbacks are at South Carolina on Saturday, the first of three of the next four games on the road. Tip off is set for 12:30 p.m.

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