Vanderbilt: 77 Texas A&M: 60
The Vanderbilt Commodores entered Thursday night in a must-win situation against conference foe Texas A&M and came out firing on all cylinders. The Aggies were ranked Number 8 in the nation and Vandy desperately needed a resumé building win. The Commodores jumped out to a quick 14-1 lead only two minutes into the game and had the Aggies on their heals. Kevin Stallings led Vanderbilt to what was probably their best full game of the season and did so in dominating fashion by rebounding and having a hot three-point shooting hand.
Despite starting the game in a 13 point hole, the Aggies quickly bounced back with several threes of their own shooting 6-12 in the first half from behind the arc. An inspired performance from Tonny Trocha-Morelos off the bench was not enough for Texas A&M despite his 13 points and four boards. The Commodores simply did not let the Aggies get in a rhythm offensively ending their runs rather quickly throughout the game.
Vanderbilt dominated this game due to their strong three point shooting from start to finish. The Commodores shot 13-29, 44.8%, from behind the arc and shot 18 threes in the first half alone, the second most Vandy has shot in a first half this season. Matthew Fisher-Davis, the best three point shooter on the team, only shot 1-5 from three but other shooters such as Luke Kornet, Wade Baldwin IV, and Jeff Roberson stepped up big time leading the Commodores to their first win over a ranked opponent since 2012.
This game was won due to the fiery attitude of the players and coaching. Let’s be honest, we have seen this Vanderbilt team collapse time and time again in the final minutes of the second half this season. Tonight, however, had a bit of a different feel to it. Whether it was going after loose balls, or out rebounding the Aggies 38-31, Vandy played like the very talented team we know they can be. Jeff Roberson came out firing with 20 points while Wade Baldwin IV added 17 of his own. Luke Kornet also had a strong game with 14 points and Damian Jones, the future 1st round pick, had 13 of his own.
Kevin Stallings was on his A-game today as well. He started the game by feeding Damian Jones underneath who was scoring at will. This immediately began to open up the outside shooting and Stallings will let this team shoot threes all day. Also, when Stallings switched out of man-to-man defense to an extended 2-3/3-2 zone, the Aggie shooters began to cool off which allowed Vandy to grab a huge lead and never look back.
The star of this game for Vanderbilt was Jeff Roberson who had 20 points, shooting 8-10 from the field, 3 assists and a rebound. When the ‘Dores began to go ice cold during the game, which happened a couple of times, Roberson would come back and hit a three to get his team rolling again.
The player who struggled most for Vandy was easily Matthew Fisher-Davis who shot a weak 1-5 from the field while turning the ball over twice in 29 minutes. Normally this wouldn’t be too bad of a stat line but Fisher-Davis has been lights out this season and just could not get it going tonight.
The stat of the night comes from the big men from the Aggies. TAMU was 11-29 from inside the paint with 7 shots blocked. This comes from a strong defensive presence by 7 footers Damian Jones, Luke Kornet, and Josh Henderson who combined for all 7 of the blocked shots.
This was a statement win from the Vanderbilt Commodores as they looked the best they had all season. This may push the Commodores into the last four in to the NCAA tournament as this tremendously boosts their resumé. They match up against the Ole Miss Rebels on Saturday February 6 at 8:00 P.M. eastern time for a date in Oxford. The ‘Dores must continue their dominance into the weekend if they want to reach the big dance this year.
Go ‘Dores and Anchor Down!!
University of Dayton ’18