Vanderbilt shook off a poor first half performance to outrun a resilient Mississippi State team in a 55-49 home win Saturday afternoon. The victory was Vandy's third straight and improved the 'Dores to .500 in conference play.
The two teams heated up after a sloppy first half that made both teams look bad. Neither squad shot better than 37% from the field and the Bulldogs and Commodores combined for 24 turnovers as Vandy took a 25-21 halftime lead. The 'Dores found their stroke early in the second frame to take a 13-point lead, but State found their rhythm from long range to keep the pressure on as the game wore down.
However, it wouldn't be enough as seniors Rod Odom and Kyle Fuller dug deep to find an extra gear and prevent a Bulldog comeback on their home court.
Odom and Fuller came alive in the second half, combining to score 20 points and fend off State's comeback. Freshman Damian Jones had a perfect day from the field, making all six of his shot attempts and playing vital post defense for the Commodores. Fred Thomas led MSU with 16 points. No other Bulldog reached double-digits in the loss.
Vanderbilt slid into a tie for sixth place in the SEC with the win. Mississippi State fell to 10th with their second-straight conference loss. The Commodores will return to action on Wednesday to face arch-rival Tennessee (4-3 SEC) at Memorial Gym.