Vanderbilt delivers best defensive performance in more than 60 years

Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 3:55pm
Staff reports

Kevin Bright made his first five 3-point shots and led all scorers with 15 points as Vanderbilt whipped Mississippi State 72-31 Saturday at Starkville, Miss.

It was the fewest points allowed by Vanderbilt since Jan. 24, 1949 when it beat Alabama 36-31 in Tuscaloosa. This season’s previous low was 46 in a non-conference victory over Alabama A&M.

The 41-point margin of victory was the largest against a Southeastern Conference opponent since a 93-52 win over Kentucky in 2008.

"Well that was simply a case of us getting off to a great start and really never giving [Mississippi State] an opportunity to recover," coach Kevin Stallings said. "I thought our guys were really sharp with our attention to the game plan. We thought it was imperative that we did a good job defending them."

Both teams lost more than 80 percent of the offense from their 2011-12 rosters but the Commodores were the only ones who managed to score effectively in this one – and they did so right from the start.

Bright made two 3-pointers in the opening 10:35, when the Commodores scored 23 of the first 29 points and five of their first eight field goals were 3-pointers. Three others – Sheldon Jeter, Shelby Moats and Rod Odom – made one 3-pointer during that stretch.

Vanderbilt (11-15, 5-9 in the Southeastern Conference) finished 11-for-31 from beyond the arc (35.5 percent) and got at least one 3-pointer from six different players.

Trivante Bloodman made Mississippi State’s first field goal of any kind, a layup, with 9:09 to play in the opening half and its first 3-pointer, 2:21 into the second half.

"At half time we knew that we had to come out and play the same as we had been playing," Bright said. "I think when there were 10 minutes left in the game we knew that it was over, but we kept playing. Our coach does not like for us to get into cruise mode or play casual. He wanted us to play hard until the end and that's what we did."

The Bulldogs (7-19, 2-12) made just four shots from the field on 22 attempts in the opening 20 minutes. They were 3-for-18 in the second half, made 17.5 percent of their shots overall and two of 19 3-pointers (10.5 percent).

Vanderbilt led 33-17 at halftime and continued to add to that advantage for most of the second half. The lead grew to more than 40 when Dai-Jon Parker’s 3-pointer, made it 70-29 with 1:57 to play.

Parker finished with just five points but had 13 rebounds and six assists. Odom scored 13 points and Jeter added 11 with nine rbounds.

Jalen Steele led Mississippi State with nine points.

"I thought our motion offense was gelling, but we couldn't knock down any shots," MSU coach Rick Ray said. "I dont think we took bad shots. In those first five to six minutes, I thought we took some quality shots. I think what it boiled down to was that they knocked down their shots when they were open and we didn't."


2 Comments on this post:

By: TITAN1 on 2/23/13 at 7:54

Great road win! WTG, Vandy!!!!!!

By: wiseguy1 on 2/25/13 at 10:55

Is Saturday's performance a preview of future possibilities in play versus the upper division of the conference? Next 2 weeks will be interesting for sure.

VU chasing Texas A&M, Georgia and LSU to stay out of a play-in game for SEC tournament. The good news is VU gets to play Georgia in Nashville. Must win game if there is any late run to improve tournament seed. Not a high probability of beating Florida in Gainesville, and VU has already beaten Auburn & South Carolina once this year. Come away 3-1 and finish conference play 8-10. Georgia could easily go o-fer in the last 4 (VU, UT, UK & Bama) ending conference play 7-11. A&M could easily go 1-3 in last 4 ( Ole Miss, SC, LSU & Ark) ending conference play 7-11. LSU probably goes 2-2 or 3-1 in last 4 ... not much chance of them finsihing worse that 9-9. If A&M does finsih 8-10, VU won the head to head contest with A&M. Tie goes to VU and gets # 9 seed. Likely play LSU who they lost to in Baton Rouge by 1. Better match up than 7 vs 10 bracket. #7 likely to be Ark, UT or Mizzou, lost all 4 games to those teams. LSU is a better match up. #9 seed offers an opportunity to go 1-1 in SEC tournament, maybe they get an NIT bid. I know, long shot. These guys could certanily benefit from more practice allowed in post season play.