The celebration at Memorial pic.twitter.com/6gVXXmhydF— Chad Bishop (@MrChadBishop) February 6, 2020
The Vanderbilt Hustler: Vanderbilt shocks LSU, earns first SEC win in two seasons
Nashville Post: Vanderbilt ends streak with upset of No. 18 LSU
Here were Vanderbilt’s effective field goal percentages in the seven games prior to last night: 35.0 (Texas A&M), 44.8 (at Arkansas), 23.5 (Tennessee), 34.6 (Alabama), 37.7 (at South Carolina), 47.2 (at Kentucky), 44.4 (Florida.)
I had a pretty good reason to think that while Vanderbilt obviously was worse at shooting the ball without Aaron Nesmith, they probably weren’t that bad at shooting the ball. Most players who are talented enough to get a college scholarship are much, much better than what Vanderbilt had shown over the previous seven games. We all should have known that some regression to the mean was coming, and Vanderbilt regressed all the way to the mean last night. (Vanderbilt’s effective field goal percentage in SEC play after last night: 44 percent. Still not good, but probably much closer to reality than, say, that 23 percent against Tennessee.) And this wasn’t just a three-point barrage, either: Vanderbilt shot 23-of-31 on two-pointers. Everything was falling, and it was great to see.
That it happened against LSU might have seemed surprising, but it shouldn’t have been. LSU, in spite of being undefeated in SEC play prior to last night, is a poor defensive team (second-worst in the SEC in defensive efficiency per KenPom, though obviously last night has a bit to do with that) that has a habit of playing down to its competition. Vanderbilt got a ton of open shots because of the Tigers’ baffling decision to throw a full-court press at them, and the even more baffling decision to stick with the press long after it was apparent that it wasn’t working. As you would expect, LSU dominated the glass and got to the foul line a lot (I’m not going to talk about the officiating, I’m not going to talk about the officiating), but that wasn’t enough when their defense couldn’t force turnovers and couldn’t stop Vanderbilt from getting open looks.
And remember what I said a couple of weeks ago: it takes a bad team having a string of really bad luck to go winless in conference play. Going 0-18 — again — was always unlikely, and now it’s not going to happen. All hail Jerry Stackhouse.
- The top three players last night — Saben Lee, Maxwell Evans, and Jordan Wright — all posted new career highs in points, and in Evans’ case he shattered it; his previous career high was 16. If you had told me early in the second half, when Evans already had 31 points with 16 minutes left in the game, that he wouldn’t be Vanderbilt’s leading scorer at the end of the night... well, I probably wouldn’t believe you. But it happened, because Saben Lee took over in the second half. Wright had some big plays as well; 11 points isn’t nearly as dramatic, but he previously hadn’t scored more than 10 in a game.
- Scotty Pippen’s moment was the dagger three to put Vanderbilt up by nine in the final minute and basically end whatever hope LSU had.
- Not a bad game for Dylan Disu, other than being limited to 17 minutes by foul trouble (and fouling out on what was probably the worst call of the night, and that’s really saying something considering the level of officiating we saw.)
- Matthew Moyer and Braelee Albert didn’t contribute much in the scoring column, but they were contributing in other ways — which, particularly in Moyer’s case, is really what you want out of them.
- Rough night for Ejike Obinna, though that’s probably to be expected with the way LSU likes to attack the basket.
- Noteworthy, Vanderbilt had the same starting five (Lee, Evans, Pippen, Disu, Obinna) for the third game in a row. It seems that Jerry Stackhouse has settled on a rotation in the post-Nesmith reality.
Starkville, Mississippi, at 7:30 PM CT on Saturday night, for a game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs on the SEC Network. The losing streak is over.