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Slowly but Surely, Vanderbilt Puts Away Wofford

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Damian Jones had 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks as Vanderbilt returned from finals week with an 80-56 win over Wofford.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Wofford simply didn't have an answer for Damian Jones.

The Terriers spent much of the night with nobody taller than 6'7" on the floor.  So when Vanderbilt got the ball to 7-foot junior Damian Jones on the low block, there simply wasn't a lot that Wofford could do to stop him.  Jones scored 21 points on 7-of-13 from the field and 7-of-10 from the foul line, and also added 7 rebounds and 4 blocks, in the kind of game that many Vanderbilt fans wish would happen more often.

The script was a bit different, though, from other games against overmatched teams that the Commodores have played.  There was no early knockout blow in this one.  Vanderbilt got out to a slow start, as Wofford's tough defense prevented the Commodores' shooters from getting good looks on the perimeter.  So Vanderbilt responded by getting Jones the ball.  Jones had 14 points before halftime, including three and-ones as Wofford's overmatched interior defense did its level best to do something about the big man.  Meanwhile, while Wofford did a lot to prevent Vandy's shooters from getting good looks -- the 17 three-point attempts tied a season low -- they managed to connect on 10 of those.  And inside the arc, while Vandy only shot 45.5 percent on two-pointers, the Commodores got to the foul line 27 times.

Still, Wofford hung around a while.  While the Terriers had nothing going on inside the arc, they shot 8-of-21 on threes, and after trailing 35-19 at the half the Terriers cut it to 42-31 with 15:28 left in the second half.  But then Vandy went on a 10-0 run, and Wofford would not threaten again as the Commodores cruised the rest of the way.

Wofford Four Factors

  • You could take Wofford's 11.9% offensive rebounding rate as a positive given Vandy's struggles in that area... or you could just admit that Wofford is not the kind of team that can take advantage of what's been a glaring weakness for Vandy in several games this year.
  • A 16.4% turnover rate is acceptable, but in light of the fact that Wofford isn't a pressing/trapping team that forces a lot of turnovers, you could also read into that that the Commodores still aren't cutting out the silly, unforced mistakes that have plagued them.
  • That's a huge discrepancy in FT Rate, and reflects the fact that Vandy completely dominated the game inside the arc.

Individual Stats

Player Min FG FGA 3FG 3FGA FT FTA ORB DRB REB PTS PF AST TO BLK STL AdjGS GS/Min
Damian Jones 28 7 13 0 0 7 10 3 4 7 21 0 1 2 4 0 22.9 0.82
Matthew Fisher-Davis 22 3 6 3 4 1 2 2 9 11 10 0 0 0 0 0 13.4 0.61
Jeff Roberson 30 4 8 1 3 4 4 0 7 7 13 2 1 1 0 0 12.5 0.42
Wade Baldwin IV 20 3 5 2 2 2 4 0 5 5 10 3 5 2 0 1 12.1 0.61
Joe Toye 16 2 3 1 1 1 2 0 2 2 6 2 1 0 1 0 6.9 0.43
Josh Henderson 14 2 5 0 0 5 5 0 4 4 9 3 0 1 0 0 6.6 0.47
Carter Josephs 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 4 0 0 0 3.9 0.49
Phillip McGloin 1 1 2 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 2.5 2.50
Riley LaChance 29 2 4 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 6 2 1 2 0 0 2.4 0.08
Nathan Watkins 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0.00
Samir Sehic 8 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 1 1 0 0 -1.4 -0.18
Nolan Cressler 22 1 3 0 2 0 0 0 2 2 2 1 0 2 0 0 -1.9 -0.09

  • While a lot has been said about Wade Baldwin IV's improvement as well as Luke Kornet's (before he got hurt, anyway), I don't think enough has been said about Matthew Fisher-Davis's improvement this season.  Fisher-Davis was basically little more than a shooter last season, but last night he collected his first career double-double and set a career high with 11 rebounds.  For the year, his rebounding average has jumped from 2.3 to 4.2.
  • Jeff Roberson had a very Roberson game: no flurries of buckets, just a solid effort all the way around.
  • Wade Baldwin IV only played 20 minutes -- which looks weird at first glance, but Baldwin sat for stretches late in the first half and early in the second half due to foul trouble, then sat down for good at the 6:18 mark as Stallings decided to give Carter Josephs some minutes.
  • Solid effort by Joe Toye, who can hopefully provide more minutes like this with Kornet out.  Toye can't really play the four on the offensive end, but his length could make him valuable on the defensive end against bigger teams.  But he'll have to provide enough offense to make that worthwhile.
  • Josh Henderson's ability to play against 6'7" bigs has never been questionable.
  • This is the third straight subpar game for both Riley LaChance.  Perhaps the injury to Camron Justice is hurting the team more than initially thought.  It doesn't help, either, that Nolan Cressler is currently mired in his own funk and that Carter Josephs is still too limited to play extended minutes.  But that third guard position alongside Baldwin and Fisher-Davis is a big area of concern for the team right now.
  • Samir Sehic could be taking advantage of the opportunity for more playing time with Luke out, but he's not.

All in all, this was a solid and necessary win for the team to get back on track after two straight losses before finals week.  On Tuesday, Vanderbilt heads to Purdue to face the Boilermakers, who are likely to drop out of the top 10 after falling to Butler on Saturday but still represent yet another opportunity for a quality win.