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Vanderbilt can’t catch Missouri in 61-52 loss

The Commodores shot 16-of-29 at the free throw line.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Vanderbilt Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The first half of the game between the Vanderbilt Commodores and the Missouri Tigers certainly started slowly. At the under-12 media timeout, Missouri led 9-6, with both teams ice cold from the floor.

Saben Lee got Vanderbilt on the board shortly after with the Commodores’ first three-pointer of the game, and then Scotty Pippen Jr. took things over for a bit. The Vanderbilt freshman scored 15 points in the first stanza as Vanderbilt built a 27-20 lead late in the half. But then Vanderbilt went the final four minutes without a field goal and settled for a 28-27 halftime lead.

The second frame got off to an inauspicious start: Dylan Disu picked up two fouls in twelve seconds (after picking up two in the second half) and quickly found him a spot on the bench. Things quickly got brutal as Vanderbilt suddenly couldn’t make free throws and went more than five minutes without making a field goal (a recurring theme of the season) and Missouri built its lead out to 42-33.

Then, after Jordan Wright picked up his fourth foul, Jerry Stackhouse inserted Drew Weikert into the game and good things immediately happened: Weikert forced a jump-ball and then, after a Max Evans basket was waved off and ruled a foul on the floor, Weikert drove to the basket and made a layup.

In spite of the cold stretch, Vanderbilt managed to keep the game close; but with the score 51-46, Vanderbilt forced a wild three-pointer by Dru Smith with the shot clock expiring, only to see Missouri grab an offensive rebound and score two points. Then, Pippen got called for a charge at the other end. But Vanderbilt stopped Missouri at the other end, and with just under four minutes left Ejike Obinna slammed home a dunk and got fouled.

But Obinna missed the free throw, Missouri got another basket, and Saben Lee got called for an admittedly terrible charge. The final was 61-52 in Missouri’s favor, with Vanderbilt shooting 16-of-29 at the foul line for the game. Pippen finished with 19 and Lee scored 14 for Vanderbilt, which is now 9-19 and 1-14 in the SEC.