Vandy bounces back from cold start in win
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Kedren Johnson scored 15 points to lead Vanderbilt over Auburn 73-61 on Wednesday night.
Four players scored in double figures to help the Commodores (8-9, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) win consecutive games for the first time in more than a month.
The Tigers (8-10, 2-3) cut the deficit to five points twice in the second half before Vanderbilt used the long ball to sprint away. Kyle Fuller, Sheldon Jeter and Kevin Bright each drained 3-pointers during a 13-3 run. Rod Odom emphatically capped off the spurt with a two-handed dunk after Josh Henderson found him streaking to the basket for a 52-37 lead with 12:28 left.
Fuller scored 14 points, Bright added 12 and Jeter had 10 as the Commodores won their seventh straight against Auburn.
Rob Chubb and Frankie Sullivan each scored 14 points and Brian Greene Jr. added 11 for the Tigers, who have dropped three straight.
Two straight layups by Chubb sparked Auburn, which made its first five shots. A baseline jumper by Jordan Price put the Tigers up 12-4 just 5:01 into the game.
After missing seven of its opening eight shots, Vanderbilt responded with a run of its own thanks to the play of three former starters. Bright popped off the bench with a straightaway 3-pointer, Henderson followed with a layup and Fuller scored five straight points. He bounced in a 3-pointer to cap off a 10-1 run and give the Commodores a brief 14-13 lead with 11:58 left in the half.
The game tilted back and forth until Vanderbilt ended the half with seven straight points. Coach Kevin Stallings delivered high-fives to his team after Auburn called a timeout with 1:22 left in the half following an offensive rebound and layup by Shelby Moats, which gave Vanderbilt a 34-27 halftime lead.
After the break, the Commodores picked up where they left off as Jeter scored five straight points to stake a 39-29 lead. After Auburn sliced the deficit in half, Fuller answered with a 3-pointer to spark the rout.
Johnson sunk a 3-pointer for a 55-39 lead with 10:59 left but the Commodores went scoreless for nearly 5 minutes. Auburn failed to capitalize even a little, committing four turnovers and missing three shots during a 4-minute drought. After shooting 50 percent (11 of 22) in the first half, the Tigers made just 11 of 31 shots (35.5 percent) the final 20 minutes.
Vanderbilt also finally received a boost at the foul line. After entering as the second-worst free-throw shooting team (57.2 percent) in the country, the Commodores made a season-high 24 free throws out of 30 attempts. Johnson paced the team by making eight of 10. Fuller made six of seven and Odom sunk all six.