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Vanderbilt drops exhibition to Virgin Islands National Team, 81-78

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Hey! Basketball in August, who would have thought?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Northwestern vs Vanderbilt Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Vanderbilt Commodores basketball team is on a summer trip to the Virgin Islands. The trip was originally supposed to be to Italy, but passport issues for a couple of players nixed that plan, so the Commodores instead went to a place that’s technically part of the United States.

But, the U.S. Virgin Islands has its own national team, which Vanderbilt played today and lost by a score of 81-78. There’s probably not much to take away from this, given that (a) Vanderbilt was playing a team consisting more or less of professional basketball players and (b) a quick look at the box score shows that Bryce Drew wasn’t playing anything close to a regular season rotation. (A weird quirk is that Yanni Wetzell and Matt Ryan, both of whom are sitting out the season as transfers, are eligible to play on this trip, though Ryan didn’t play in Sunday’s game.)

But, this week is the closest thing we’ll get to a look at the Commodores before the regular season starts, so here are some notes from the box score:

  • Larry Austin Jr. was the starting point guard, and he scored 14 points in 19 minutes. That’s fine.
  • Djery Baptiste got the start in the first game of the trip, though he only played 13 minutes and attempted one shot. But he made that shot! He also grabbed five boards.
  • The other three starters -- Jeff Roberson, Matthew Fisher-Davis, and Riley LaChance — aren’t really in doubt, because really, who else were you going to start? Fisher-Davis led the team with 15 points and shot 3-for-8 from three. Roberson and LaChance did fine.
  • Saben Lee had five turnovers in 15 minutes. Yeah, he might be better off coming off the bench.
  • On the other hand, Maxwell Evans had nine points in 13 minutes on 3-of-4 from three. We were under the impression that Evans was primarily a slasher, but if he’s got a jump shot, too, he could be dangerous off the bench.
  • Joe Toye: five points, 2-of-6 shooting, four fouls, three turnovers in 18 minutes. We’re still waiting on this.
  • If Evans is playing like anything close to this, Payton Willis may be the odd man out in the backcourt rotation, though he did have three points and three rebounds.
  • Clevon Brown was 1-of-6 from the floor, though he did grab 9 rebounds in 16 minutes.
  • We thought Ejike Obinna was raw and might need a redshirt year, but against a team of pros he had four points and grabbed a rebound.
  • Also, former Florida Gator Walter Hodge plays for the USVI National Team. Who knew?

Okay, so we’re done playing professionals. Vanderbilt has three more games on the tour — they’ll play Carleton University from Ottawa, Canada, on Monday; Brock University, also from Canada, on Wednesday; and Carleton again on Thursday. Carleton beat Alabama in an exhibition game earlier this month so I wouldn’t take them lightly, but again, these aren’t games we’re taking seriously.