No. 18 Vanderbilt opens season routing Austin Peay 80-41
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The 18th-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores know how to start off a season strong, and tuning up with scrimmages against North Carolina and Virginia certainly helped.
Luke Kornet had 13 points and 13 rebounds and No. 18 Vanderbilt routed Austin Peay 80-41 on Friday night in the opening round of the Maui Invitational and the season opener for both teams. The Commodores opened the game scoring the first 21 points and hit their first nine shots inside the arc.
''We've had a couple scrimmages against two of the best teams in the country, and I'm not surprised we were on our game because we've been on our game most of the fall,'' Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. ''So confidence comes from knowing what to expect, and I have confidence in our team because they give me reason to expect that they're going play hard.''
Vanderbilt came into the season ranked for the first time since the 2011-12 season and only the seventh time ever. Stallings has four starters back from the team that went 21-14 and won 10 of its final 14 games before losing in the NIT quarterfinals.
Wade Baldwin IV led Vandy with 14 points, and Damian Jones added 12. The Commodores will play St. John's in Maui on Nov. 23.
Khalil Davis scored 10 Points for Austin Peay. This was one of two guarantee games for Austin Peay, from the Ohio Valley Conference, this season, and coach Dave Loos said the Commodores putting a pair of 7-footers on the court early affected his Governors.
''We obviously got off to a terrible start, and Vanderbilt got off to a great start,'' Loos said. ''They're a good basketball team. I think they're as advertised, certainly in my book. They're big, they make shots, they overwhelmed us obviously early.''
The last time these teams met in December 2013, Austin Peay just missed a tip-in with a second left in a 58-56 loss. This time, Fisher-Davis hit a 3-pointer within the opening minute, and the Commodores never let it get closer than that.
Austin Peay missed its first 14 shots before Chris Horton finally scored on a layup with 11:39 left.
Stallings was able to go to his bench early, playing three of his four freshmen. Baldwin stole an inbound pass by Austin Peay that appeared thrown to him and scored Vandy's final bucket of the first half. Vandy led 47-15 at halftime. Stallings pulled all but one starter with 9:08 left and a 69-28 lead.
Austin Peay: Loos started his 30th season overall and 26th with the Governors coaching his 900th career game. ... The Governors feature three junior college transfers and four freshmen.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores improved to 57-7 in home openers, and Stallings now is 16-1 in season openers winning his last nine. ... Vanderbilt ranked 15th nationally last season with a school record 186 blocks, and the Commodores picked up where they left off with eight blocks.
SHOT BLOCKER: Kornet spent his first two seasons at Vanderbilt looking like he was trying to get comfortable with his body after a growth spurt between high school and college. Now 7-foot-1, Kornet is heavier and knows exactly what to do. He matched his career-high with four blocks in the first half alone, three coming in the first four minutes.
GOOD DEFENSE: Austin Peay was held to one assist, and Vanderbilt had a 21-3 scoring edge off turnovers.
WHERE'S ROBERSON: Vanderbilt sophomore Jeff Roberson did not play, and Stallings said he expects the guard back from a concussion Monday night.
Austin Peay visits No. 15 Indiana on Monday.
Vanderbilt hosts Gardner-Webb on Monday.