VUCommodores: A Road Win
Sometimes, making your shots is enough.
On Saturday, Vanderbilt shot 17-of-35 on twos, 10-of-21 from three, and 21-of-29 at the foul line. That was enough — just barely — to overcome Georgia’s rebounding advantage (the Bulldogs grabbed 15 of their own misses) and hold off a late rally; Vanderbilt was up 77-65 with 4:51 left, then allowed an 11-0 run. Georgia never actually took the lead, though, with Vanderbilt getting a key stop and then making its free throws in the final minute.
SEC road wins have been a rarity in recent years; over the preceding five seasons, Vanderbilt has beaten an SEC team in its own house just six times, with three of those coming last season. Vanderbilt won at Georgia last season, but that was a dreadful Bulldog team that finished the season 6-26. This year’s Georgia team is better; even with yesterday’s loss, they’re 13-6 and 3-3 in the SEC.
Now, Vanderbilt has a key week coming up. Kentucky comes to Memorial Gym on Tuesday and while the Wildcats have won three in a row since vomiting all over themselves against South Carolina, they looked vulnerable in home wins over Georgia and Texas A&M last week. Speaking of Texas A&M, Vanderbilt will pay them a visit on Saturday. Winning both games would put Vanderbilt at 12-9, 5-3 in the SEC, and would go a long way to making us forget all about early-season losses to Southern Miss and Grambling.
- I worried about Ezra Manjon’s three-point percentage when he came in as a transfer and, as it turns out, “not shooting threes” was a viable solution. Manjon carried Vanderbilt in the second half and was the game MVP (per KenPom) for the first time this season.
- Meantime, Tyrin Lawrence and Trey Thomas have both been coming on strong lately. Lawrence has scored 57 points over the last three games (granted, he’s taken a lot of shots to get there); Thomas got blanked against Alabama, but he’s 5-of-12 from three and perfect from the foul line over the last three games.
- Myles Stute going 4-of-4 from three: effective.
- With Liam Robbins and Lee Dort both on the shelf, Quentin Millora-Brown had to come up big and he did; he’s never going to be much of a scorer, but 11 boards is doing your job.
- Whoa, where the hell has Paul Lewis been?
- Jordan Wright grades out poorly here thanks to a bunch of missed shots and turnovers, though he did score 12 points.
- Vanderbilt didn’t get much out of Colin Smith (who didn’t start for the first time since the NC State game), Emmanuel Ansong, or Malik Dia, and Noah Shelby was a DNP. Not sure what’s going on there.
Vanderbilt hosts Kentucky at 8 PM CT on Tuesday night, with the game being televised on the SEC Network. Somehow both our games against Kentucky are on the SEC Network?