The first bit of anxiety for fans of the Vanderbilt Commodores did not last very long: 14 seconds into the new season, Clevon Brown hit the team’s first three-pointer of the season, extending its streak to 1,064 consecutive games with a made three-pointer.
The second bit of anxiety — the 20-game losing streak that the Commodores ended the 2018-19 season on — would take a bit longer. Actually, for a while, it looked like that might not be too much of a concern. Brown’s three was followed 28 seconds later by a three from Aaron Nesmith, and another three from Brown extended the lead to 9-0. Scotty Pippen Jr. made a layup for his first points as a Commodore, and the SE Missouri State RedHawks called timeout down 11-0.
But inevitably, Vanderbilt would go cold, and the RedHawks would come back into the game. A Max Evans three with 10:12 left in the first half would extend Vanderbilt’s lead to 26-9, but in a flashback to last season, the Commodores would go cold, scoring just six points for the remainder of the first half as the RedHawks would come back to tie the game at 32 at halftime.
Southeast Missouri State took its first lead of the game at 34-32 in the first minute of the second half, but then Aaron Nesmith would give Vanderbilt the lead right back with the first of his four second-half threes. The RedHawks would hang around for the next ten minutes — frequently tying the game, never pulling ahead — but after an Isaiah Gable layup pulled the RedHawks within one with 10:51 left, Vanderbilt would go on a 9-0 run to give itself some breathing room heading into the under-8 media timeout.
The RedHawks never truly went away, but after Chris Harris made a three to cut Vanderbilt’s lead to 64-59, Scotty Pippen Jr. answered with a three at the other end to start a 10-1 run going into the final media timeout.
Lee drives and kicks to Max Evans for a dagger three. Vandy extends its lead to 74-60 with just 3:37 to play! pic.twitter.com/Mm1ge760ph— Vandy Hustler Sports (@vuhustlersports) November 7, 2019
The Commodores would coast from there. The final was 83-65, and Vanderbilt claimed its first win of calendar year 2019.
Aaron Nesmith led all scorers with 25 points, and Saben Lee had 21. Clevon Brown set a new career high with 15 points. The Commodores will get to celebrate their 1-0 record before returning to action Monday against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.