Vanderbilt trailed by 13 points with less than eight minutes to play. It looked as though the Commodores' lack of veteran leadership was going to allow Yale to leave Nashville with an upset win.
Instead, Kevin Stallings's young team grew up in a hurry to rally past the Bulldogs in two overtimes, 79-74. Five different Commodores scored 10 points or more to finish out Vandy's non-conference schedule on a high note.
The 'Dores jumped out to a 14-4 lead before cold shooting allowed the visiting team to control the middle portion of this game. Yale fired away from three-point range all afternoon, at one point making four straight to help push a double-digit lead well into the second half. The Bulldogs led 52-39 with 7:48 left to play before Vandy's young guns came alive to bring this game back within reach. Those underclassmen led a 20-7 run that sent this game into overtime.
It wasn't easy, though. Armani Cotton's clutch three-pointer dropped Vandy's win percentage to single digits by giving Yale a 59-54 lead with 51 seconds to go. Riley LaChance rose to the occasion by blasting a big three of his own, and the 'Dores were able to hold steady on defense long enough for Shelton Mitchell's layup to ensure some free basketball at Memorial Gym.
Vandy pulled away early in the extra frame, but Yale's alligator blood kept them alive. The 'Dores took a 66-62 lead with 25 seconds left, but Jack Kelley cut that lead to one with a big three-pointer. Mitchell made one of two free throws on the other end, but it looked like the Bulldogs were finally going to fall when Javier Duren's game-winning three clanged off the rim. However, Jack Montague had position under the basket, and his tip-in fell through the basket with .7 seconds left to guarantee a second overtime.
An early basket from Luke Kornet set the pace for the second overtime, and an exhausted Yale team couldn't create more late-game magic from long range. The Bulldogs missed their final three shots while Vandy came up big from the free throw line to ice the game at a 79-74 final score.
Damian Jones led all scorers with 19 points but also had a career-high four assists to go with seven rebounds and three blocks. LaChance, Mitchell, Kornet, and Matthew Fisher-Davis all scored in double figures for the Commodores. Duren paced Yale with 17 points and seven assists.
The win closed out Vanderbilt's non-conference schedule and places the 'Dores at 10-3 headed into SEC play. They'll return to action on Tuesday when they host 8-5 Auburn.