Vanderbilt 69, Miami (Ohio) 62
John Jenkins hit five 3-pointers and scored 26 points as
Vanderbilt overcame a sluggish start and beat Miami (Ohio) 69-62
Monday night for the Commodores’ fourth straight victory.
Coming off a 74-57 win at then-No. 14 Marquette, the Commodores
(10-4) opened this game like so many this season at Memorial Gym
struggling to find the basket, hitting only two of their first 14
shots. They finally heated up, especially from 3-point range where
they hit 8 of 18 (44.4 percent) for the game.
Jeffery Taylor and Brad Tinsley each added 11 points, and senior
Festus Ezeli blocked four shots to become Vanderbilt’s career
leader, passing former NBA player Will Perdue.
Freshman Brian Sullivan came off the bench and led the RedHawks
(4-8) with 24 points, going 8 of 10 from beyond the arc. Julian
Mavunga had his eighth double-double this season but was held to a
season-low 14 points, along with his 11 rebounds.
Vanderbilt has struggled at home this season, losing to
Cleveland State and Indiana State, costing it a Top 25 ranking. The
win at Marquette got the Commodores some votes Monday in the new
Top 25 poll, and this time, Vanderbilt closed out an opponent that
refused to go away.
The RedHawks, whose losses include 66-60 at then-No. 13 Xavier,
pulled within 43-41 as Mavunga scored six points and Jon Harris hit
a 3-pointer with 12 minutes left. Jenkins answered with another 3,
then hit a jumper after a pump fake to push the lead to 48-41.
Miami (Ohio) pulled within 59-55 as Drew McGhee capped a 9-3
spurt. Jenkins hit a fall-away jumper to push it to 61-55 with 3:58
left, then the Commodores forced Miami (Ohio) into its fourth shot
clock violation of the game.
Brian Sullivan hit his eighth 3 to pull Miami (Ohio) within
63-58 only to have Ezeli block Josh Sewell’s layup with 1:46 left.
Miami (Ohio) never got closer than five as the Commodores hit all
six free throws in the final 67 seconds to win.
Vanderbilt may have had trouble shooting early. Sullivan didn’t.
He hit his first four 3-pointers and kept the Commodores from
blowing the RedHawks out. His fourth 3 put the RedHawks up 18-14
with 7:57 left in the first half. Vince LeGarza scored on a layup
to match that lead.
But Steve Tchiengang hit a pair of free throws as the first of
nine straight points by Vanderbilt, including a 3-pointer by
Taylor, and Taylor’s fast-break layup put Vanderbilt up 25-20 with
Vanderbilt led 27-24 at halftime and opened the second half
hitting four 3-pointers, the last two by Jenkins, to go up