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Vanderbilt 81, Houston Baptist 48: A much-needed easy win

I think everyone needed that one.

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

Tennessean: Vanderbilt’s best 3-point shooting night nets big win over Houston Baptist

Houston Chronicle: Vanderbilt ends skid with 81-48 rout of Houston Baptist

For the second game in a row, Vanderbilt’s defense held the other team to its worst offensive performance of the season (on a per-possession basis), and that’s saying something for a team that’s played Michigan State.

Yes, if you can’t tell from the bar chart above, most of that was related to Houston Baptist having an awful shooting performance. The other three of the four factors were basically even, and the Huskies were without their best player. But for the first time in weeks, Vanderbilt’s offensive performance didn’t leave much to be desired. While it’s true that that was also mostly related to shooting, that’s something that has been notably absent this season.

Of course, it’s sort of obnoxious that we waited until we played Houston Baptist, a team that we were probably going to beat regardless (though we did create a few doubts early in the game...) for the shots to fall. It did take a few minutes for that to get going, though, as the offense looked completely lost early in the game before finding its stride. But progress is progress, and now the team gets another tuneup against Alcorn State before SEC play starts.

Hey, a win is better than a loss, regardless of the competition involved.

Individual Stats

Player MIN FG FGA 3FG 3FGA FT FTA ORB DRB REB PF PTS AST TO BLK STL AdjGS GS/Min
Matthew Fisher-Davis 26 6 10 5 9 2 2 1 4 5 2 19 3 3 1 2 21.1 0.81
Jeff Roberson 27 4 8 1 4 8 8 3 7 10 3 17 0 2 0 0 17.1 0.63
Riley LaChance 25 4 6 3 4 0 0 0 4 4 0 11 5 1 0 1 16.0 0.64
Maxwell Evans 13 6 10 2 5 0 0 0 0 0 1 14 1 0 0 0 11.8 0.91
Joe Toye 23 2 8 0 3 3 4 0 3 3 1 7 2 0 2 1 7.4 0.32
Payton Willis 14 1 3 1 2 2 2 0 1 1 1 5 2 1 0 1 5.6 0.40
Saben Lee 20 1 6 0 2 1 1 1 3 4 3 3 5 3 1 1 2.2 0.11
Larry Austin Jr. 19 0 1 0 1 1 2 2 2 4 3 1 2 1 0 0 1.3 0.07
Ejike Obinna 11 1 1 0 0 0 4 0 3 3 0 2 0 0 0 0 1.2 0.11
Djery Baptiste 9 1 3 0 0 0 0 1 3 4 4 2 0 1 1 0 0.0 0.00
Isaiah Rice 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 -1.2 -1.22
Clevon Brown 12 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 5 0 0 1 3 0 -1.6 -0.13
  • Entering tonight, Matthew Fisher-Davis had shot 7-of-34 on threes over his last five games. I normally wouldn’t get too worked up about him going 5-of-9 for three, but this year that’s been very unusual.
  • If you still don’t believe that Jeff Roberson is this team’s best player, well, I don’t really know how to help you.
  • When this team’s three seniors are all clicking at the same time, as they were last night, this team can actually be at least decent. Sadly, this is the first game where that’s really been true. And even when they are all clicking, most of the time they’re getting next to no help.
  • I don’t want to completely discount Maxwell Evans’ performance, but it did come once the game was already out of hand. Still, I like what I see here, and at least in theory it shouldn’t be that hard to get more minutes on this team.
  • Let’s just not dwell on whatever that was that Joe Toye did midway through the second half, where he went up for a dunk, decided in midair to lay it in, and missed. If anybody other than a few stray AoG commenters had been watching, it would have been on the Not Top 10.
  • I don’t know why, but I never really notice Payton Willis much any more, so I’m kind of surprised to learn he’s averaging around 17 minutes a game over the last five.
  • The last two games will probably sum up what we’re going to get from Saben Lee this year. When he’s on, he’s capable of carrying the offense, but then he has a dud like this. At least this happened on a night when Roberson, Fisher-Davis, and LaChance were carrying the team.
  • After playing four minutes against Radford and not getting off the bench at all against Kansas State and MTSU, Larry Austin Jr. is back to being a decent bench player, which is useful.
  • Ejike Obinna looks like he’s going to be an adventure at the foul line for the next four years. Get ready.
  • I didn’t notice Djery Baptiste much, which is honestly probably good. Because usually when I notice Baptiste it’s for the wrong reasons.
  • Isaiah Rice got his first action at Vanderbilt!
  • Clevon Brown... well, fouling out in 12 minutes of action is impressive in its own way.

What’s Next

Vanderbilt closes out the pre-conference portion of the schedule on Friday night as the Alcorn State Braves come to town. Tipoff is at 6 PM CT (why the early tip? I don’t know) and once again, the game is only available on the SEC Network+. I’ll probably be driving in the general direction of Memphis while that’s going on, so I won’t be around (but I will be around to break down the stat sheet at some point on Saturday.) So if I don’t see all of you again, Merry Christmas (for those of you who celebrate it, anyway.)