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Vanderbilt 93, South Carolina 81: A big, satisfying win

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Vanderbilt got its first SEC win, and it wasn’t close.

NCAA Basketball: South Carolina at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Four Factors

Four Factors Vanderbilt South Carolina
Four Factors Vanderbilt South Carolina
eFG% 60.17% 58.06%
OR% 35.29% 25.71%
TO% 20.00% 21.33%
FT Rate 45.76% 22.58%

Well, that was fun, wasn’t it?

Vanderbilt got its first SEC win of the season and it was never really in doubt except to Vanderbilt fans, who have seen the flipside to this story play out too many times. South Carolina hit a couple of early threes to take a 6-3 lead, then Vanderbilt went on a 20-2 run to build a 23-8 lead. The rout wasn’t quite on just yet: Jerry Stackhouse took Dylan Disu and Scotty Pippen Jr. out of the game, and the Gamecocks would come back to cut the lead to 33-29. But Vanderbilt would extend the lead out to 52-37 at the half, and the 12-point final margin was actually the closest South Carolina got in the second half. That only came after Jerry Stackhouse, sitting on a 93-70 lead at the final media timeout, decided that Pippen and Disu’s nights were done, and South Carolina closed the gap against a lineup that included little-used Akeem Odusipe and walk-ons Max Adelman and Isaiah Rice.

In other words, this could have been a lot worse than it was. I don’t treat plus/minus as gospel, but in this specific game, it’s notable that Vanderbilt was 27 points better than South Carolina with Maxwell Evans on the floor, 26 with Scotty Pippen Jr., and 26 with Dylan Disu (all three, of course, were on the floor together quite a bit.)

Vanderbilt won all of the Four Factors and when you do that, you’re going to win most of the time. South Carolina committed 16 turnovers and I’ll grant that a lot of that was the Gamecocks’ own sloppiness and not anything Vanderbilt was doing defensively, but it made a big difference considering that Carolina still shot the ball fairly well, their 58% effective field goal percentage isn’t that far off what an average SEC team has done against the Vanderbilt defense.

Anyway, this was a necessary win to get the team some confidence back, and now Vanderbilt has a stretch of winnable games coming up. Road trips to Texas A&M and Georgia are still road games, but those are probably the two worst non-Vanderbilt teams in the conference. A home game against Auburn is suddenly tricky with the emergence of Sharife Cooper, but that’s followed by a road game at Mississippi State and a home game against Kentucky, two teams Vanderbilt narrowly lost to last month. It’s not unreasonable to think Vanderbilt could pick up two or three wins in this stretch.

Individual Stats

Player MIN FG FGA 3FG 3FGA FT FTA ORB DRB REB PTS PF AST TO BLK STL AdjGS GS/Min
Player MIN FG FGA 3FG 3FGA FT FTA ORB DRB REB PTS PF AST TO BLK STL AdjGS GS/Min
Scotty Pippen Jr. 28 6 10 3 5 8 8 1 1 2 23 1 7 1 1 2 28.65 1.02
Maxwell Evans 34 9 15 5 8 6 10 0 4 4 29 1 2 1 0 1 25.41 0.75
Dylan Disu 27 5 10 2 7 5 6 4 3 7 17 2 3 3 2 5 22.39 0.83
Jordan Wright 24 4 7 0 1 1 1 0 4 4 9 1 4 0 0 0 10.41 0.43
D.J. Harvey 21 2 4 2 4 0 0 0 3 3 6 0 1 1 0 0 5.15 0.25
Myles Stute 16 0 3 0 3 2 2 2 1 3 2 3 2 0 0 0 2.01 0.13
Issac McBride 11 1 4 1 4 0 0 0 1 1 3 1 1 1 0 1 1.34 0.12
Ejike Obinna 16 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 4 0 0 3 0 0 0.34 0.02
Isaiah Rice 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
Max Adelman 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
Akeem Odusipe 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 0 3 0 1 1 0 -0.11 -0.04
Trey Thomas 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 -2.01 -0.34
Clevon Brown 11 0 3 0 1 0 0 1 4 5 0 2 1 2 0 0 -2.57 -0.23
  • Yeah, getting a 29-point outing from Maxwell Evans alongside the usual performances from Pippen and Disu is a pretty big deal, eh?
  • Actually, this might have been better than Scotty’s 32-point performance at Florida the other night. In this case, Scotty got 23 points, but he only needed 10 field goal attempts to do it — and he also dished out seven assists.
  • Another solid game from Jordan Wright, who’s good as a fourth or fifth scoring option on the floor. Finding some more good role players would be a pretty big deal for this time, because...
  • ...well, outside of D.J. Harvey and Myles Stute, nobody else was any good on Saturday night. There was a reason why South Carolina was able to make a run when Pippen and Disu went to the bench in the first half, and over the long term, depending on Maxwell Evans to blow up for 29 points just isn’t a viable solution to anything. Vanderbilt either needs Pippen and Disu to be on the floor for north of 35 minutes a night or they need someone else to step up.

What’s Next

Vanderbilt travels to Texas A&M on Wednesday night. Texas A&M is currently 2-6 in the SEC, with the two wins being by a grand total of three points — and the six losses by a total of 100 points. The Aggies aren’t good, and this is a winnable game. (They did pick up a win at Kansas State on Saturday; Kansas State, though, is the worst power conference team in the country according to KenPom, and they managed to keep it closer against A&M than they did against Division II Fort Hays State, which is a real school and not one I just made up.)