No. 18 Vanderbilt 95, Monmouth (NJ) 73
Vanderbilt took home a big win. Coach Kevin Stallings still is
so disappointed in how his 18th-ranked Commodores failed to put
away a winless team he feels like they lost.
John Jenkins scored 18 points, and Jeff Taylor and Brad Tinsley
each added 16 to help Vanderbilt beat Monmouth 95-73 on Friday
night after letting a 26-point lead get whittled down to 11 before
finishing off the game.
”I feel like we really got outworked, out-toughed, outplayed
and we won because we have superior talent and superior players,
size, strength and athleticism, skill,” Stallings said. ”But we
lost the fight portion of the game tonight, and that’s
The game pitted Stallings against his former assistant King Rice
in his first season as Monmouth’s head coach. Stallings said it
looks like the Hawks are buying into Rice’s message of how he wants
them to play.
”I’m happy for him,” Stallings said. ”He’s been having a hard
time getting his team to play hard as hard as he wants them
The Commodores already are without starting center Festus Ezeli
due to a sprained knee, and Steve Tchiengang sat with
concussion-like symptoms after being hit in the face Monday night
against Oregon State in winning the TicketCity Legends Classic in
The Commodores (5-1) didn’t need him on a hot-shooting night
where they trailed only off the opening bucket. Josh Henderson and
Dai-Jon Parker had a career-high 10 points each.
This easily was the toughest game yet for the Hawks (0-6). Jesse
Steele scored 25 points, Ed Waite had 15 before fouling out, and
Austin Tillotson 11.
Monmouth is playing its first nine away from home and won’t be
back in New Jersey until Dec. 10. Rice, who spent the past five
seasons with Stallings at Vandy and also was on the bench for him
at Illinois State, has seven newcomers on his roster.
Rice said he knows how good the Commodores are and wondered why
Taylor now is hitting pull-up jumpers he often missed last
”The second half, when you’re playing coach Stallings’ team and
he puts his guys back in, you know that you’re doing the right
thing. Coach really put his guys back in tonight,” Rice said.
That Stallings did, until 1:01 left after they had gotten
sloppy. This game offered a nice break for Vanderbilt, which hosts
No. 12 Xavier on Monday night before visiting seventh-ranked
Louisville on Dec. 2. Taylor said they must improve defensively and
”Or we’re going to get beat here real soon,” Taylor said.
Jenkins opened up on fire, hitting three of his first four shots
– all from beyond the arc. He also hit a pair of free throws and
had 11 points in the first half, giving him 38 career games scoring
in double figures. His teammates all shot well too as Vanderbilt
hit 68 percent (17 of 25) from the floor in the first 20 minutes,
including 8 of 13 from beyond the arc. Five Commodores hit at least
The Commodores also had to deal with watching the Hawks run the
same plays as they do, even down to the same phrases to call them
”Coach told us before the game it was going to be that way,”
Jenkins said. They were calling them out. It was weird.”
Andrew Nicholas hit a jumper in the opening seconds to at least
give Monmouth a brief lead. But Jenkins hit his first 3 to put
Vandy ahead to stay with 18:49, and the Commodores just got better
as the half went on.
They reeled off a 12-2 run to push the lead to double digits
with Stallings able to rest his starters and play reserves.
Henderson scored twice in the spurt, and Kyle Fuller’s layup made
it a 21-7 lead. Steele scored on a layup, and Tillotson stole the
ball near the Hawks’ basket and hit a short jumper to pull Monmouth
to 23-13 with 9:10 left.
Taylor hit back-to-back jumpers and Jenkins added another 3 to
push the lead back out. Vanderbilt led by as much as 26 in the half
before Steele’s 3 with 3.5 seconds left pulled Monmouth within
50-27 at halftime.
The Commodores got a little sloppy in the second half with
Monmouth refusing to back off. They also went 6:06 between field
goals between Tinsley’s 3 with 12:07 left before Lance Goulbourne
scored on a layup with 6:01 remaining. During that drought,
Monmouth put together seven straight points and got to 71-56 on
Nesmith’s fast-break layup with 7:57 left.
Stallings took a timeout, and Goulbourne came back with that
layup and hit the free throw for a 78-65 lead.