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Vanderbilt 90, Austin Peay 72: This team can shoot?

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Yeah, Vanderbilt ranks 7th in the country in effective field goal percentage.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 20 Austin Peay at Vanderbilt Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Four Factors

Four Factors Vanderbilt Austin Peay
Four Factors Vanderbilt Austin Peay
eFG% 62.90% 50.00%
OR% 34.40% 27.80%
TO% 14.70% 14.70%
FT Rate 46.60% 59.60%

Tennessean: Scotty Pippen Jr.’s big night nets win over Austin Peay

Hustler: Vanderbilt prevails over Austin Peay in foul-filled showdown

The biggest early concern I have about Vanderbilt’s 2019-20 basketball team: what happens when this team has a bad shooting night? That’s something we actually haven’t seen yet. Through four games, Vanderbilt ranks 7th nationally in effective field goal percentage, and its worst performance — against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi — saw them post an eFG of 57.7%.

The clearest difference so far is that Jerry Stackhouse is leaning much more on his best players. Last season, Saben Lee had a Shot% (meaning, the percentage of the team’s shots taken while the player is on the court) of 19.2 and Aaron Nesmith’s was 23.0. This year, those percentages are 31.5 and 31.7. Vanderbilt has attempted 237 field goals this season, and Lee and Nesmith have taken 119 — or just over half. (The irony here is that just going off the percentage of shots taken, Lee and Nesmith are each playing a bigger role in Vanderbilt’s 2019-20 offense than Darius Garland was early last season — and everybody accused Bryce Drew of gearing the team too much around Garland, to the point that he couldn’t adjust when Garland went down.)

Of course, it also helps matters that Lee and Nesmith are both better at making shots than they were last year. We’ll see if it keeps up, but the way that this is going, it will basically have to.

Now, the biggest story from Wednesday night’s game was the number of free throw attempts, and this was the first time we’ve really seen the referees take over a game this season. We’ll get to this some more in the individual stats, but let’s just say that we were due for a game like this at some point. That sort of limits the amount that I can take away from the game — for instance, Vanderbilt only forced 10 turnovers, but it’s actually pretty hard to force turnovers when the referees are calling a tight game. Anyway, we’re still not to the point where we can complain about games that we won.

And meanwhile, an Austin Peay assistant coach took exception to Saben Lee dunking instead of dribbling out the clock:

Individual Stats

Player MIN FG FGA 3FG 3FGA FT FTA ORB DRB REB PTS PF AST TO BLK STL AdjGS AdjGS/Min Plus/Minus
Player MIN FG FGA 3FG 3FGA FT FTA ORB DRB REB PTS PF AST TO BLK STL AdjGS AdjGS/Min Plus/Minus
Scotty Pippen Jr. 31 6 9 3 4 6 9 0 2 2 21 2 3 0 0 2 25.03 0.81 25
Saben Lee 33 7 11 0 3 5 8 1 4 5 19 1 9 3 0 1 23.64 0.72 14
Aaron Nesmith 31 10 17 4 8 2 3 2 2 4 26 4 0 1 0 1 22.88 0.74 10
Ejike Obinna 20 2 3 0 0 1 2 2 5 7 5 1 0 1 0 0 6.07 0.30 -3
Maxwell Evans 22 2 5 1 2 0 0 1 3 4 5 2 3 1 0 0 5.31 0.24 9
Matthew Moyer 8 2 3 0 1 1 1 2 0 2 5 3 0 1 0 1 4.93 0.62 3
Jordan Wright 21 2 5 1 3 1 2 1 2 3 6 3 1 0 0 0 4.68 0.22 13
Oton Jankovic 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.38 0.19 -2
Dylan Disu 23 1 3 0 2 1 2 1 2 3 3 4 2 2 0 0 0.00 0.00 17
Isaiah Rice 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 0
Clevon Brown 8 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 -2.91 -0.36 4
  • So, after all that I wrote about Lee and Nesmith, Scotty Pippen Jr. was your player of the game on Wednesday — though obviously, Lee and Nesmith weren’t far behind.
  • As far as the big men go, Clevon Brown being in foul trouble for pretty much the entire game — he picked up two quick ones and sat for most of the first half, then picked up his third early in the second half — really threw off the rotation, such that Ejike Obinna played 20 minutes (and only picked up one foul!) I do have to say I like Matthew Moyer’s current role of “energy guy off the bench.”
  • Maxwell Evans is what he is, a guy who eats minutes and won’t embarrass you. It seems to work fine alongside Lee and Nesmith because Stackhouse isn’t depending on him to do too much on the offensive end.
  • The non-Pippen freshmen are still coming along. Dylan Disu is going to be very hit-or-miss (this was a miss, what with Disu joining the foul parade.) Jordan Wright isn’t going to be a star, but he should be a nice role player for the next four years. I’m sort of wondering what exactly Stackhouse thinks he’s accomplishing by sending Weird Oton Jankovic out there for two minutes a night instead of just redshirting him, but maybe he’ll be needed later on in an emergency — but when he’s playing two minutes when the big men are in this much foul trouble then you know he’s not going to play much of a role on this team.
  • Also, Isaiah Rice made his first appearance of the season, and Cutler Klein (calling the game for SEC Network+) didn’t see fit to mention this on the air. Harumph!

What’s Next

Vanderbilt continues the Hetwetter Invitational on Friday night at 8:00 PM CT, when the South Carolina State Bulldogs pay a visit to Memorial Gym. If you’re wondering about the later start time, the women’s team plays Furman at 5:30 on Friday, so it’s a doubleheader. Okay here, here’s the chart to explain what’s going on here (h/t parlagi).