For the second time this season, Vanderbilt has gone on the road to play a highly-ranked SEC opponent and held them to a season low in points. The Commodores did it to Kentucky in Rupp Arena back on January 12, and tonight, they did it to Tennessee.
They also lost both games.
In the first matchup between Vanderbilt and Tennessee, the two teams combined to shoot 53 free throws; tonight, they combined for 15. Vanderbilt shot 50 percent from the floor in the two teams’ first meeting and 32 percent tonight. And yet in spite of the offensive ineptitude, Vanderbilt stayed in the game until the closing minutes.
Things started inauspiciously tonight; after trading blows for the first few minutes, Tennessee went on a 9-0 run midway through the first half, followed by an 11-2 stretch late in the first half that gave the Vols a 36-22 lead with a minute and a half left. But then the Vols went cold: Tennessee scored two points over the next nine minutes of game action.
The only problem, though, was that Vanderbilt wasn’t scoring much either. Even with the Vols going ice cold, Vanderbilt could only cut the lead down to 38-34. While the Vols couldn’t put Vanderbilt away, Vanderbilt couldn’t make the shots it needed to come back. Simi Shittu cut the lead to 51-44 on a free throw with 4:03 left; but Vanderbilt would only score two more points from there. Aaron Nesmith led Vanderbilt with 13 points; Grant Williams had 14 points for Tennessee — a far cry from the 43 points he scored in Nashville.
Vanderbilt has now lost 14 games in a row and is 9-17 overall, 0-13 in the SEC.