Vanderbilt didn't get a chance to play a top 25 team in the semifinals of the 2015 Maui Invitational, but they still found a way to make a statement. The Commodores took an early lead against Wake Forest and rarely had to worry about the Demon Deacons en route to a 86-64 win on Tuesday night.
Damian Jones recorded his first double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Wade Baldwin IV added 17 points of his own and some heady play at point guard, while Jeff Roberson came off the bench to chip in 12 points of his own.
Vanderbilt got off to another hot start in Hawaii as an early 21-5 lead made it look as though the 'Dores were in store for another blowout. Jones, who was held to only five points on Monday, found plenty of room to operate early on. The junior center scored everywhere from at the rim to 15 feet away to put the Demon Deacons on their heels.
Wake came roaring back thanks to a series of fouls and ugly turnovers that gave them a 13-2 run that showed that yesterday's win over #16 Indiana was no fluke. Baldwin IV and Jones responded with a 10-point VU run that extended their lead back to comfortable levels en route to a 43-28 halftime advantage. Jones finished the first half with 12 points, five rebounds, and a block in a dominant first 20 minutes.
The Commodores came flying out of the locker room with 11 points in their first four minutes on the court. Luke Kornet shook off a tough opening frame with a soft hook shot and a tip-in that announced that Jones wasn't the team's only big man with an NBA future. That helped Vandy push their lead to as many as 25 points as the two teams slogged through a second half that seemed to have as many referee whistles as made baskets. The two teams combined for 47 fouls as the three officials whistled every play where two players went up for a rebound and did as much as make eye contact with each other.
Vanderbilt shifted to a newcomer-heavy lineup in the final eight minutes, perhaps in preparation for their third game in three days in the Maui Invitational Final on Wednesday. Nolan Cressler, Joe Toye, Camron Justice, and Samir Sehic got extended minutes against the Deacons.
Vanderbilt improved to 5-0 with the win. Wake Forest fell to 3-2. The Commodores will return to the court Wednesday night to face the winner of Tuesday's Kansas-UCLA game for the preseason tournament's title. The Demon Deacons will get a matchup against the loser of that contest.