All right, so: I’m not going to complain about a road win over a top-100 win (a task that eluded Villanova), but especially not after an 0-2 start.
Still: Temple ranked 339th in the country in effective field goal percentage last season, so allowing that shooting performance is at least mildly concerning. On the other hand, this was also an instance of one guy going off. Temple’s Damian Dunn scored 38 points and hit 7-of-9 three-pointers. Aside from him, Temple’s remaining players shot 9-of-23 on twos and 7-of-20 on threes, certainly numbers you can live with.
And even with that guy lighting it up, Vanderbilt still got out with a win. You can chalk that up to Vanderbilt shooting well and not turning the ball over, two massive improvements from the first two games of the season. After the Memphis and Southern Miss games, the last thing I would have expected would be for Vanderbilt to overcome a team going 14-of-29 from three-point range.
- This, frankly, is what Vanderbilt expects out of Myles Stute, Liam Robbins, Jordan Wright, and Ezra Manjon, and they’ll win a lot of games if that foursome plays like this from here on out.
- I’m fine with that from Tyrin Lawrence, too, who doesn’t need to be a big-time offensive player for Vanderbilt to succeed... but, then, the other team’s best guard going off for 38 points is a mark against Lawrence (I wasn’t paying attention enough to know who specifically was guarding Damian Dunn, but it was probably Lawrence.)
- Paul Lewis... that’s fine. I have to say, I’m a bit surprised that he’s getting minutes ahead of Noah Shelby, but then Lewis is more of a pure point guard.
- I admit to being skeptical of Emmanuel Ansong, but he’s growing on me as “limited guy who’s willing to do the dirty work for 10-15 minutes a game.” Kind of like the role Jamaine Mann played for the team when healthy last season.
- Lee Dort played one minute, had a dunk, and also airballed a free throw.
- Speaking of Dort, I keep wondering if he’s going to start eating into Quentin Millora-Brown’s minutes at some point. I like Millora-Brown, obviously, but he’s also a bit limited athletically and sometimes, like last night, that will show up.
- Malik Dia gave the team quality minutes off the bench Friday night, less so last night, but last night was a night when they could handle him having an off night in 10 minutes.
- Miles Keeffe got his first regular-season action, and we didn’t see much but I get the sense that he’s a bit better than a typical walk-on.
- DNPs were Colin Smith, Trey Thomas, and Noah Shelby. The first two were injured and, per Jerry Stackhouse’s postgame comments, it sounds like they’ll miss some time. I have no idea what’s going on with Shelby and why he’s not getting on the floor, though he didn’t do anything in his short amount of game action against Southern Miss.
Vanderbilt hosts Morehead State on Friday at 6:00 PM CT on the SEC Network+. That’s a very winnable game; Morehead appears to have dropped off quite a bit from last season’s 23-11 performance, with a 2-2 record this season and neither of their games against power conference teams (Indiana and West Virginia) were particularly close. This also means that half of Vanderbilt’s first four games will be against former Donnie Tyndall employers, along with Memphis State and the Wet Hets. In other words, a very Anchor of Gold early basketball schedule.