Vandy emeges with tight win over Central Arkansas

League: NCAA Basketball

Posted on: 18 Nov, 2023 at 02:29 AM

Credit: George Walker IV / / USA TODAY NETWORK

Ezra Manjon scored 16 points and added three steals, leading Vanderbilt to a 75-71 win over Central Arkansas in Nashville on Friday evening.

Colin Smith had 14 points and 11 rebounds, Evan Taylor scored 14 and Isaiah West added 12 for the Commodores (3-1), who won their third straight.

The Bears' leading scorer, Elias Cato, had just five points. Central Arkansas' Daniel Sofield, Javion Guy-King and Masai Olowokere each had 11, while Ubongabasi Etim added 10 points and 11 rebounds.

The Commodores, 18.5-point favorites, never trailed.

Cato hit 1 of 2 free throws with 30.1 seconds left to pull Central Arkansas (1-3) within one.

Vanderbilt's Smith snatched the rebound of the second foul shot. The Bears fouled Manjon, who sank both free throws with 24.5 seconds left.

Olowokere answered with a layup with 13.6 seconds left.

Manjon hit two more foul shots with 11.7 seconds remaining to make it 74-71.

The Bears' Ibbe Klintman got a great look at a tying 3-point attempt from the right side but missed, and Taylor's free throw with one second to play sealed things.

Vanderbilt played without Manjon for about a six-minute stretch of the period with what appeared to be an ankle injury.

In that stretch, Central Arkansas cut a seven-point lead to three.

Upon Manjon's return, the Commodores -- using West to run the point -- went to Manjon right away. He converted a short jumper in the paint with 9:14 left to make Vanderbilt's lead 59-54.

Central Arkansas shot 53.6 percent in the first half but trailed 41-33 as Vanderbilt turned the ball over just three times.

Smith's transition layup with 11:45 left in the first half gave him 13 points and increased Vanderbilt's lead to 24-11.

The Commodores extended the lead to 16 on Jason Rivera-Torres's fastbreak layup with 8:27 left before half.

Both teams were again down key pieces.

Vanderbilt played without preseason second-team All-Southeastern Conference guard Tyrin Lawrence as well as forward Ven-Allen Lubin and Lee Dort, all expected to be key rotation pieces.

Central Arkansas didn't have Camren Hunter, who averaged 16.9 points last season.

--Field Level Media