The Vanderbilt Commodores’ Black Friday matchup with the Kent State Golden Flashes went about as poorly as possible.
Kent State led by as many as 15 points in the first half, fueled by 9-of-13 three-point shooting, and led 41-34 at the half. But the bigger news out of the first half: Darius Garland, the star recruit from nearby Brentwood Academy and Vanderbilt’s leading scorer through its first four games of the season, went to the locker room with an apparent knee injury and did not return to the game.
Without Garland, Vanderbilt managed to scrap and briefly take a lead in the second half, but poor free throw shooting —the Commodores finished the game 16-of-27 at the charity stripe — combined with a hot-shooting opponent led to the team’s first loss of the season by a 77-75 score. Simi Shittu led the Commodores with 20 points, while Joe Toye had 17.