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Ice-cold start dooms Vanderbilt in 71-55 loss to Mississippi State

This is the kind of game that drives us to drink.

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi State at Vanderbilt Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

After a few games of fading late in the game, the Vanderbilt Commodores decided to go back to an old standard on Saturday night. Vanderbilt started the game by missing its first seven field goal attempts; the Commodores didn’t score for the first 4:10 of the game and, after a pair of putbacks by Yanni Wetzell and Matthew Moyer, they’d go another 6:33 without a field goal.

The only good news is that, in spite of scoring seven points in the game’s first twelve minutes, Vanderbilt didn’t completely play its way out of the game. Sure, the score was 21-7 with 7:41 left in the first half, but at least it wasn’t completely finished, right? Vanderbilt would claw to within eight points at halftime, and seemed to have a bit of momentum going into the locker room.

But the Commodores couldn’t capitalize on the momentum. Mississippi State’s Lamar Peters was whistled for a technical foul early in the second half, but Aaron Nesmith made just one of the two free throws, and Vanderbilt turned it over on the ensuing possession. It was that kind of night for the Commodores. Vanderbilt would pull within seven on a bucket by Joe Toye just before the under-16 media timeout, but the Commodores never came closer than that again. Mississippi State slowly pulled away from there, and the final score was 71-55 — and the Bulldogs could have pretty much named whatever final score they wanted.

Saben Lee led the Commodores with 13 points, and Aaron Nesmith had 11, but Vanderbilt shot 36.7 percent for the game and a woeful 5-of-19 from three. Vanderbilt is now 9-8 on the season, and 0-5 in the SEC, and could be facing the #1 team in the country when Tennessee comes to town on Wednesday night.