Vanderbilt scored just two points in the final four minutes but held on for a 72-70 victory over St. Mary’s on Friday night.
Brad Tinsley scored the Commodores’ final point when he made one of two free throws with eight seconds to go. The Gaels’ Clint Steindel then missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Tinsley finished with just three points but the sophomore guard had a career-high eight assists with just three turnovers.
Jeffery Taylor, who also made a free throw in the closing minutes, led VU (2-0) with 19 points and seven rebounds. Jermaine Beal added 16 points, and Andre Walker contributed 14 points and three steals, both career-highs.
The Commodores finished the first half on a 16-8 run and led 40-39 at halftime. Then they scored the first eight points of the second half – six of them by Walker – and never trailed.
The lead grew as large as 14 points when a 3-pointer by Beal made it 57-43 with 14:46 to go.
St. Mary’s got a game-high 25 points and 18 rebounds from Omar Samhan.
Vanderbilt’s next three games will be at the EA Sports Maui Invitational, beginning 4:30 p.m. (CST) Monday against Cincinnati.