Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Central Arkansas C. Ark Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 17th 2023

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Vanderbilt seeks a three-game winning streak when it hosts Central Arkansas in Nashville, Tenn., on Friday evening.

The Commodores (2-1) nearly blew an 18-point lead while defeating UNC Greensboro 74-70 on Tuesday. Ezra Manjon scored 24 points and hit all 12 of his foul shots for Vanderbilt, while Colin Smith added 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Vanderbilt has struggled without preseason second-team All-Southeastern Conference guard Tyrin Lawrence, forward Ven-Allen Lubin and Lee Dort, none of whom have played this season due to injuries.

Lawrence and Dort were projected starters. Lubin was expected to be part of the Commodores’ rotation. Without them, Vanderbilt opened with a six-point loss to Presbyterian before logging a seven-point win over USC Upstate and then edging UNC Greensboro.

On Tuesday, Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse hinted the trio might not return until the Commodores’ Nov. 23 game with North Carolina State in Las Vegas.

“I think it’s just a matter of us continuing to grow and get better while we’re on the mend,” Stackhouse said. “We’re still on the mend and guys are getting better. Timetable for those guys, hopefully, we’ll have them back by Vegas.”

Central Arkansas (1-2) has lost both its games against Division I opponents, falling 70-53 to Tulsa and 85-83 to Arkansas-Pine Bluff. In between, the Bears beat Division III Hendrix College 82-39.

Seven Bears saw double-figure minutes in the Monday loss to Arkansas-Pine Bluff, with Elias Cato (22 points), Tucker Anderson (17), Javion Guy-King (15) and Masai Olowokere (13) also scoring in double figures.

Central Arkansas coach Anthony Boone, who faced Vanderbilt as an Southeastern Conference player at Ole Miss, is also missing key players. The Bears haven’t had guard Camren Hunter all season after he averaged 16.9 points last year while earning third-team All-Atlantic Sun honors. Carl Daughtery Jr., who scored 19 against Tulsa, missed the past two games.

“I feel good about our chance to compete against Vanderbilt,” Boone said. “Now, I’d feel really good if we had Cam and CJ. But still with the group we have, I feel good about us going over there and really giving them a good go.”

–Field Level Media

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