NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Kedren Johnson scored 12 of his 19 points in the second half to lead Vanderbilt to a 71-46 victory over Alabama A&M on Saturday.
Rod Odom added a career-high 17 points, and the Commodores (4-4) won consecutive games for the first time this season. Alabama A&M (2-6) went scoreless for the opening 4 minutes and played from behind the whole game.
Odom made a career-high four 3-pointers as Vanderbilt shot a season-high 47.6 percent (10 for 21) from beyond the arc. Odom sunk a 3-pointer with 7 seconds left for a 31-22 halftime lead. Johnson’s third and final 3-pointer capped a stretch in the second half in which he accounted for 10 of 13 points. Josh Henderson added a career-high 13 points.
Alabama A&M made just six shots in the second half. Brandon Ellis and Demarquelle Tabb each scored 10 points for the Bulldogs, who lost their fourth straight and sixth of seven.
Alabama A&M committed turnovers on its first three possessions. The Bulldogs didn’t score until a 3-pointer by Brandon Ellis more than 4 minutes in.
But they stuck around thanks to poor rebounding by Vanderbilt, which entered as the worst rebounding team in the Southeastern Conference. The Commodores looked sluggish as they were playing for the first time in nine days – their longest layoff of the season – after pulling out an overtime victory at Xavier.
Nicholas West cut the deficit to 18-15 with 6:48 before halftime, but that is as close as Alabama A&M would get. The Bulldogs made just two baskets the rest of the half, and Odom was left open to the left of the key for a big 3-pointer before halftime.
The momentum spilled over into the second half, where the Commodores shot 63.6 percent (14 of 22). After an Alabama A&M 3-pointer cut the lead to six, Vanderbilt used a 16-6 run to pull away. Johnson began to attack the basket. He sandwiched a jumper in between five free throws. His 3-pointer with 13:19 left gave the Commodores a commanding 47-31 lead.
Vanderbilt made up for awful free-throw shooting with good defense. The Commodores shot a season-low 47.4 percent (9 for 19) from the line. Alabama A&M couldn’t get shots to fall from anywhere else. The Bulldogs shot 32.6 percent (15 of 46) for the game. The 46 points were the fewest the Commodores have allowed this season.
Vanderbilt added some depth with the return of A.J. Astroth. The freshman guard missed five straight games due to hamstring and ankle injuries. He scored his first career points late in the game.
The Commodores will also get sophomore Dai-Jon Parker back on Monday against Cornell. The shooting guard was suspended indefinitely before the season began due to a violation of non-academic team rules.