The 2013-2014 Vanderbilt basketball season didn't get off to a great start, but the Commodores are 1-0.
Vandy overcame a stout upset bid from Georgia State and held on to a 86-80 victory in Memorial Gym to get their season underway on Tuesday night. Senior Rod Odom used savvy shooting and veteran leadership to will his team to a comeback win on a night where the Panthers were primed to play Cinderella in Nashville.
Vandy and GSU battled through a close game, but the 'Dores pulled away in the end thanks to some timely contributions from their veteran players. Upperclassmen Odom, Dai-Jon Parker, and Kyle Fuller combined to score 14 of the team's 20 points in the final five minutes to help Vanderbilt pull away from the Panthers late.
The Commodores also got promising contributions from two important newcomers in the victory. Freshman Damian Jones and Tulsa transfer Eric McClellan combined for 37 points while shooting 65 percent from the floor.
The Panthers led with as little as 3:21 left to play, but Odom made sure that he wasn't going to start off his final season in Nashville with a loss. The captain made a pair of huge three-pointers to put Vanderbilt ahead 72-70. The two teams exchanged baskets and free throws to make it 73-all, but Jones broke that tie with a midrange jumper to give the 'Dores a two-point lead. One possession later, Dai-Jon Parker hit a dagger three to make it 78-73 with just over a minute to play and effectively seal the home win.
Former Kentucky (and NC State) guard Ryan Harrow led all scorers with 27 points. Jones and Odom led the 'Dores with 19 points. The freshman also added seven rebounds and two blocks in his NCAA debut. Vanderbilt shot 55.6 percent from the field as a team, including a solid 10-21 from long range.
The win starts a potential rebuilding season off on the right foot. The Commodores will return to the court at Memorial Gym on Friday when they host cross-city rival Lipscomb.