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Arizona State 76, Vanderbilt 64: Saben Lee doesn’t get any help

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One Vanderbilt player played well. The rest of the team, well...

NCAA Basketball: Vanderbilt at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

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On the road, against the #5 team in the country, Vanderbilt shot 23-of-68 from the floor and 4-of-31 from three-point range.

The only reason this game was even close was because Vanderbilt held Arizona State’s potent offense in check for much of the game. The Sun Devils ended the game with 76 points in 74 possessions — which doesn’t sound great, but that was their worst offensive performance of the season. But much of that came early in the game: Arizona State was held scoreless on its first eight possessions and 8 points on its first 19.

Of course, that was countered by 19 points on 8 possessions to begin the second half. Vanderbilt kept things mildly interesting from there, but the game was never really in doubt after that run. But that game was competitive for longer than we thought it would be, right? And the defensive intensity that I saw was real. But you can’t depend on shutting down a team like that; at some point, you’re going to have to score, and Vanderbilt couldn’t do it. And the frustrating part was that, while there were 20 turnovers, a lot of the lack of scoring was just missing open jump shots.

Thankfully, Houston Baptist and Alcorn State are on the schedule next.

Individual Stats

Player MIN FG FGA 3FG 3FGA FT FTA ORB DRB REB PTS PF AST TO BLK STL AdjGS GS/Min
Saben Lee 38 9 14 1 4 5 9 2 3 5 24 3 6 2 0 4 47.1 1.24
Larry Austin Jr. 13 2 3 0 0 2 2 1 0 1 6 2 0 0 0 0 9.2 0.71
Joe Toye 33 6 18 2 11 0 0 2 0 2 14 3 1 3 1 0 4.8 0.15
Jeff Roberson 32 1 7 0 2 5 5 2 5 7 7 4 0 2 0 0 3.6 0.11
Clevon Brown 9 2 4 0 0 1 2 1 1 2 5 2 0 1 0 0 3.6 0.40
Matthew Fisher-Davis 33 1 10 0 8 0 0 2 6 8 2 3 3 2 1 3 2.4 0.07
Payton Willis 11 1 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 3 2 0 1 0 0 0.4 0.04
Maxwell Evans 4 0 2 0 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2.2 -0.55
Riley LaChance 27 1 8 1 4 0 0 0 3 3 3 3 0 0 0 0 -5.0 -0.19
  • Adjusted Game Score gets a little wonky when a lot of guys are having bad games, but Saben Lee’s 47.1 AdjGS is... very, very good. You have permission to start drooling over next year’s starting lineup featuring Lee, Darius Garland, and Simi Shittu.
  • When Larry Austin Jr. was the second most effective player on the team and played all of 13 minutes, well, something is wrong.
  • Joe Toye scored 14 points, which is a season high, but he still wasn’t all that effective. For one thing, he needed 18 field goal attempts to get there, and there were also three turnovers. Also, ten of those points came in roughly the first five minutes of the game. After that, he was a nonfactor.
  • Jeff Roberson did Jeff Roberson things, but also shot 1-for-7 from the floor. That’s somewhat better than the other seniors (who also shot poorly, but weren’t helping much otherwise, either.)
  • While the purported stars were stinking up the joint, Clevon Brown, like Austin, was having a solid performance off the bench.
  • Matthew Fisher-Davis had eight rebounds and three steals, which is good. Not good: shooting 1-for-10 from the floor (and 0-for-8 from three.)
  • Payton Willis was mostly invisible, I don’t recall actually seeing him on the floor. I’m sure I did, he just left so little impression that I am not convinced he actually played 11 minutes.
  • I did notice Maxwell Evans briefly. He missed a couple of threes, which was about the least of this team’s problems.
  • While I was watching this game, my wife was yelling that Vanderbilt needed Riley LaChance to take all the shots. This stat line is why my wife is not a basketball coach.
  • Djery Baptiste and Ejike Obinna didn’t play, which may well have been a strategic decision to go small more than anything else. And you can’t really fault that move since Vanderbilt did hold Arizona State to its worst offensive performance of the year.

What’s Next

A breather, finally. After the brutal early schedule that has Vanderbilt looking at a 3-7 record, the Commodores host Houston Baptist at 6:00 PM CT Wednesday night. The game will not be televised, but will be available on SEC Network+ streaming. Houston Baptist is currently ranked #266 in KenPom and while the Huskies are 4-7, three of those wins came against non-Division I competition. If Vanderbilt loses this game, you have permission to set everything on fire.