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Vanderbilt 97, South Carolina State 60: A rare blowout win

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It’s been a while since we’ve seen a game like this.

Memphis Grizzlies v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Four Factors

Four Factors Vanderbilt SC State
Four Factors Vanderbilt SC State
eFG% 70.70% 44.60%
OR% 15.80% 20.80%
TO% 37.90% 9.70%
FT Rate 48.30% 52.20%

Normally, of course, you’d be getting the Statistical the morning after the game — but with yesterday being a football Saturday, the Statistical for Friday night’s game against South Carolina State got delayed until Sunday morning.

Anyway: Vanderbilt scored 97 points in 70 possession on Friday night. That’s actually the sixth-highest points per possession number in KenPom’s history, which goes back to the 2001-02 season, and the highest since a 92-51 win over Alcorn State on December 22, 2017. That, somehow, was the only game in the entire Bryce Drew era in which Vanderbilt posted a higher victory margin than the 37-point margin against South Carolina State.

The strangest feature of it was that this was an 11-point game with a little more than ten minutes to go — of course, it was also a 21-point game at halftime. But we’ll just say this is what it looks like when the other team isn’t making threes — a big problem so far this season. (Stackhouse’s defense has done all right at limiting three-point attempts, but when opponents have been taking them, they’ve often been making them.) The defense is still an issue, regardless of what it did against a bad South Carolina State team, but the offense so far isn’t.

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
Aaron Nesmith 31 7 11 4 6 2 3 1 4 5 20 4 2 0 0 1 19.14 0.62 19
Clevon Brown 29 8 13 0 2 3 4 3 3 6 19 1 0 2 2 1 17.27 0.60 27
Saben Lee 22 5 9 0 1 2 5 2 5 7 12 0 6 1 0 2 16.06 0.73 20
Scotty Pippen Jr. 29 3 6 2 4 5 7 2 1 3 13 3 8 3 0 2 15.73 0.54 27
Maxwell Evans 24 6 11 3 7 0 0 1 2 3 15 1 3 0 0 1 15.07 0.63 32
Dylan Disu 31 3 4 2 3 3 4 1 10 11 11 3 0 0 0 0 12.65 0.41 27
Trace Arbuckle 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 2.97 2.97 2
Ejike Obinna 11 1 1 0 0 1 3 1 0 1 3 1 0 2 0 1 1.32 0.12 10
Matthew Moyer 9 1 2 0 1 0 2 0 2 2 2 3 0 0 0 1 0.66 0.07 10
Isaiah Rice 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00 5
Jordan Wright 11 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 2 0 3 0 0 -3.85 -0.35 6
  • This was a much more balanced effort than we’ve seen this season, and it’s saying something about the insane start Aaron Nesmith is off to that he scored 20 points and his scoring average actually went down. Through five games, he’s averaging 25.2 ppg — which leads the SEC and ranks sixth nationally, and second among power conference players (behind only Georgia Tech’s Michael Devoe.)
  • A new career high for Clevon Brown, just four games after he previously set a new career high. Brown’s averaging 10.4 ppg — and if you’d told me he would be a double-figure scorer this season, I wouldn’t have believed you.
  • The one knock on Saben Lee, and really the team in general, was his free throw shooting. Saben only played 22 minutes, which is unusual, but not unexpected given the competition.
  • Yes, I’ll take eight assists and three turnovers from Scotty Pippen Jr.
  • I actually had to look and see if 15 points was a career high for Maxwell Evans. It wasn’t — he scored 16 against Savannah State last year — but man, I have to think nobody is liking this coaching change more than Maxwell Evans. He’s not doing too much, but then he’s not being asked to do too much, and he’s there as an option when it’s not Lee or Nesmith.
  • Dylan Disu had a double-double, the first of his career, and also posted the sixth-highest Game Score on the team on Friday night. That’s something.
  • And, here’s walk-on Trace Arbuckle, who played one minute, made a three-pointer, and posted a higher Game Score than three guys who played real minutes. If you’re wondering, Arbuckle is a walk-on, listed as a junior on the roster, and per the team site attended the same high school as Isaiah Rice — though they have different hometowns, somehow.
  • Not a ton to say about Matthew Moyer, Ejike Obinna, and Jordan Wright, who played bench minutes and none of them really stood out, at least not in a good way (Wright had two fouls and three turnovers, which is how you get a negative Game Score.)
  • Not playing on Friday night: Oton Jankovic. According to another site, he didn’t go through warmups and wasn’t dressed out for the game. Not that he was playing much anyway. Before you ask, football is the only sport that allows you to actually play and still maintain a redshirt, barring a long-term injury.

What’s Next

The Vanderbilt Hetwetter Invitational continues on Monday night, with Southeastern Louisiana visiting. The Lions are 2-4 on the season, 0-4 against Division I competition, and those losses are to Tulane by 21, Grambling at home by 11, Tulsa by 7, and Austin Peay by 21. I am expecting a similar result to what we saw against South Carolina State. (For whatever reason, South Carolina State and Southeastern Louisiana each opted to play a non-Division I team instead of playing each other.) Game time is 7:00 PM CT, and the game can be seen on the SEC Network+.