Vanderbilt ends skid with win over Houston Baptist
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Vanderbilt turned to its three seniors and a freshman to end a three-game skid.
Seniors Matthew Fisher-Davis, Jeff Roberson and Riley LaChance each scored in double figures as did freshman Max Evans in an 81-48 rout of Houston Baptist on Wednesday night.
”I thought our seniors played really well tonight,” Commodores coach Bryce Drew said. ”They were more vocal in the huddle than what they’ve been all season and so that was really encouraging. They all had really solid nights.”
Fisher-Davis scored 19 points, including five 3-pointers, and Roberson added to his Southeastern Conference lead with his sixth double-double, scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Evans scored a career-high 14 points, including an exclamation-point dunk at the end, while LaChance hit three 3s and finished with 11 points for the Commodores (4-7).
It was a much-needed win for Vanderbilt, which had lost six of its previous seven.
The Commodores hit 12 of 30 rom 3-point range while Houston Baptist (4-9) went 1 for 18.
Houston Baptist, which fell to 0-8 on the road, made just 16 of 61 (26 percent) from the field.
Due to a scheduling conflict with another team, the Huskies didn’t get to hold a pre-game shoot-around at Memorial Gym, an unusual arena with the benches behind the baskets instead of court-side like most places.
”It’s very much different than any place we play all year,” Huskies coach Ron Cottrell said. ”I don’t blame all of our bad shooting on that. Certainly, we’re a tired ballclub, but it played into it. You shoot 26 percent from the field, five percent from the 3 and 57 percent from the free-throw line and you’re not going to beat anybody.”
Ian DuBose led the Huskies with a career-high 20 points in the first-ever meeting between the schools.
”Our shooting has been off the last two games, so we’ve got to work on improving on knocking down shots and being more aggressive to the rim and taking better shots,” DuBose said. ”Our shooters were missing open looks.”
Vanderbilt led 34-17 at halftime after Houston Baptist missed 22 of its first 28 shots from the field.
”We were pretty locked in,” Fisher-Davis said. ”I felt like our 3-point defense is normally pretty decent. That’s all we guard in practice every day, so we did a good job defending the 3 tonight.”
The Huskies finished a tough three-day stretch that included a 107-62 loss at second-ranked Michigan State on Monday.
Houston Baptist: The Huskies struggled offensively as Jalon Gates missed 9 off 11 from the field and David Caraher hit just 3 of 12. Even the foul shots wouldn’t fall as Houston Baptist missed 11 of 26.
Vanderbilt: Vanderbilt needed a taste of success with its SEC opener at Florida just 10 days away.
Vanderbilt is the only Southeastern Conference team with a losing record, but it has faced four ranked opponents.
The Commodores play the nation’s 14th-toughest schedule, including second most difficult among Power Five conference teams, according to kenpom.com.
David Caraher and Tim Myles both left the court with ankle injuries after a collision in the paint with 10:46 left. Caraher limped off, favoring his right leg, and Myles was carried off-court by several teammates.
”They both kind of tweaked their ankles a little bit and both have some swelling,” Cottrell said. ”We’ll see how severe it is. I really don’t know anything right now.”
Houston Baptist visits Lamar (8-3) in its Southland Conference opener on Dec. 28.
Vanderbilt hosts Alcorn State (4-8) on Friday in its final tuneup before SEC play. Alcorn State opened its season with a 99-59 loss against another SEC team, LSU.