When the other team is shooting the lights out, you just have to survive it.
Vanderbilt weathered a 12-of-25 shooting performance from beyond the arc in the simplest way possible: the Commodores simply got more shots off and made a decent number of them. 10-of-31 three-point shooting is nothing to write home about, nor is 18-of-39 inside the arc — but note how many shots Vanderbilt took. Pitt took 50 shots and Vanderbilt took 70, and while Pitt made up some of that difference by getting to the foul line more, Vanderbilt just generated a ton of extra chances by grabbing their own misses and limiting turnovers.
That’s a good thing; it’s also not something Vanderbilt has been particularly good at this season. Prior to Wednesday night, the Commodores’ highest offensive rebound rate in a game was 30.6% against Temple; and the 15.9% turnover rate was preceded by 21.7% against Wofford and 27.5% at VCU. And the team ranks 308th nationally in free throw rate; that’s not something that’s getting any better.
But it’s good to come away with a win in a game like this. Sometimes, you just need to know you can do enough to survive a hot shooting night.
- Unlike last year’s team, this team doesn’t have a guy who can simply carry the team. That said, “none of Liam Robbins, Jordan Wright, and Myles Stute are having a bad night” is usually going to be just fine.
- And, yes, Wright was fine on Wednesday night. The jump shot isn’t there right now, but “5-of-12 shooting and doing a lot of everything else” is something you can live with.
- What we’re sort of learning about Emmanuel Ansong at this level is that he can play well in short doses, but I’m not sure I want to see him out there more than 11 minutes. Play him 11 minutes, though, and he can give you this.
- Trey Thomas, Quentin Millora-Brown, and Tyrin Lawrence fall into the “not playing all that well, but not actively hurting the team, either” bucket. Lawrence, obviously, made two very big free throws at the end.
- Somebody in the postgame thread brought up the playing time for the freshmen, so I’ll repeat it here: I’m mostly not alarmed by the fact that the freshmen aren’t playing much early in the season. For one thing, it’s a big adjustment to the college game, and unfortunately Vanderbilt just hasn’t had much garbage time early this season thanks to the schedule. (The one game that did was the Morehead State game, and the four healthy freshmen for that game played 47 minutes.) But the five freshmen really fall into four buckets: Paul Lewis has been hurt, and may not be back to game shape yet. Lee Dort was coming in raw, and probably wasn’t ever going to be a guy who’d play big minutes right away. Colin Smith and Malik Dia are probably playing the hardest spots to claim playing time for this team; any minutes they get are likely going to come from Wright and Stute, which you probably don’t want to do (but particularly because neither of them has really looked great when they have gotten on the floor.) The one that’s probably alarming is Noah Shelby simply because there’s really no obvious reason he shouldn’t be able to push aside Trey Thomas, and yet he hasn’t. That one legitimately has me concerned, but the other four really don’t.
Well, since the Statistical is late and we have a quick turnaround, the next game is tonight against Grambling at 6 PM CT on the SEC Network.