Vanderbilt followed its worst shooting performance with its best and snapped a three-game losing streak in the process.
Two days after scoring their fewest points in 30 years, the Commodores salvaged a win at the Old Spice Classic by rolling over Texas-El Paso for a 73-49 victory on Sunday in the consolation round in Orlando, Fla.
Vanderbilt (2-3) shot a season-high 51 percent and was got a team-high 17 points from Kedren Johnson. On Friday against Marist, the Commodores suffered an embarrassing 50-33 loss and made just 23 percent of their shots.
“On Friday, when we threw up that terrific 33, I thought our guys played hard but we just couldn’t buy a basket and then it got in our heads and got to everybody,” coach Kevin Stallings said. “I thought [Sunday], the difference in the game was that we played with a lot more energy than [UTEP] did. We asked our team to be the most energetic team in the game. ... It was the next game on the schedule, and we always talk about being ready to play it. I thought we were crisper offensively.”
Rod Odom added 16 points and Kyle Fuller scored 14.
The trio of Odom, Johnson and Fuller scored just 13 points and made six shots against Marist. Odom, Johnson and Kevin Bright each made two 3-pointers as Vanderbilt shot 47.4 percent (9 for 19) from behind the arc. UTEP (1-4) committed 20 turnovers. The Commodores scored 17 points off the miscues.
Vanderbilt returns to Nashville to play Villanova on Saturday at Memorial Gymnasium.
“I thought it was really, really important for them to come out and show themselves that we were better than what we played on Friday because there’s a fine line between confidence and doubt,” Stallings said. “If you have another subpar offensive day, it may really get in your head and you’re dealing with it for a long time. They generated some confidence from this and that will help them relax and play a little bit better next time.”