I don’t really think Vanderbilt is a better team than LSU, especially with Matthew Fisher-Davis sidelined — and from what we’re hearing, Vanderbilt may have to adjust to his absence. But on Saturday, Vanderbilt shot the ball well enough and did enough to stop Tigers not named Duop Reath to come away with a hard-fought win, a rare occasion this season.
For about the umpteenth time this season, Vanderbilt encountered a big man who can score and didn’t really have much to stop him — Reath went for 31 points on 13-of-20 from the floor. But LSU’s star freshman, Tremont Waters, had a miserable day, scoring just 7 points on 3-of-12 shooting. In fact, LSU’s players aside from Reath shot just 14-of-42 from the floor and 3-of-17 from three. The post defense still needs a lot of work, but Vanderbilt’s perimeter defense looked fine on Saturday.
(As far as Reath goes, I will note that Vanderbilt was mostly letting Djery Baptiste and the rest of the big men defend him one-on-one. That might seem like a strategic error, but it may well have played a role both in him dropping 31 and also in the rest of LSU’s team shooting really poorly.)
|Larry Austin Jr.||6||1||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||1||2||0||0||0||0||1.3||0.22|
- Assuming Matthew Fisher-Davis is going to be out for a while, Vanderbilt will have to lean a lot on Riley LaChance, Saben Lee, and Jeff Roberson, with any contributions from the rest of the team being gravy. Those three are the only reliable contributors that Vanderbilt has, and, well, two of those aren’t actually reliable.
- That said, Riley LaChance attempting 14 shots is something that needs to happen more often.
- Vanderbilt’s big men (Djery Baptiste, Clevon Brown, and Ejike Obinna) combined to play 40 minutes, commit 7 fouls, and give up 31 points to Duop Reath. That’s... not good. That said, see above for partial explanation.
- Joe Toye and Larry Austin Jr. weren’t hurting the team, which is about all that I ask from them at this point. Those will also be the two seniors on next year’s team, assuming both return and there aren’t any graduate transfers added. That’s... well, the freshmen are going to have to do a lot.
- Payton Willis got his second start of the season in place of Matthew Fisher-Davis and... it didn’t go well. He’s been a better player than Max Evans (who didn’t play on Saturday, presumably because of a coach’s decision) but that doesn’t mean he’s a starter-caliber player on an SEC team. And... he’s going to be starting for the foreseeable future.
On Tuesday night, Vanderbilt will go three hours to the east, to a place where Franzia is not consumed orally. Tipoff is at 6:00 PM CT and the game will be televised on ESPNU.