Vanderbilt hits 11 3-pointers in win over Georgia
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jeff Roberson and Riley LaChance have carried much of the scoring load for Vanderbilt lately.
But the 1,000-career-point scorers got some help as five Commodores broke into double figures in an 81-66 win over struggling Georgia on Wednesday night.
“As a coach, I love it when we have four or five guys in double figures,” Commodores coach Bryce Drew said. “We haven’t had the luxury pretty much all year. Lately, Jeff has been having big nights or Riley or both of them and no one else, and it’s nice that we had five guys (in double figures).”
Roberson and LaChance took on more of the offense after another 1,000-point scorer, Matthew Fisher-Davis, suffered a season ending shoulder injury during a loss to Kentucky on Jan. 13.
LaChance and freshman guard Saben Lee both scored 19 points and Vanderbilt made 11 shots from 3-point range.
Payton Willis added 13 points, Joe Toye had 12 and Roberson contributed 11 one game after scoring a career-high 30 in a loss at Auburn.
It was a badly needed win for the last-place Commodores (9-15, 3-8 SEC), who lost seven of their previous nine.
“I think it’s just our heart,” Lee said. “We don’t quit. I feel like the group of guys in the locker room is not going to give up. We don’t play what our record looks like.”
Georgia (13-10, 4-7) lost for the seventh time in nine games as its postseason hopes continued to fade.
Vanderbilt hit all 16 of its foul shots and 55 percent from the floor.
“We just had a terrible time defending tonight,” Bulldogs coach Mark Fox said. “Give Vanderbilt all the credit. We never could slow them consecutively, couldn’t get consecutive stops.”
Georgia entered the game ranked second in the SEC in both scoring defense (66 ppg) and field-goal percentage defense (39.1 percent). It was fourth in 3-point field goal percentage defense (31.1 percent), but Vanderbilt hit 46 percent.
“Our defense has disappeared on us and Vanderbilt made us pay,” said Fox, whose team never led.
Yante Maten led the Bulldogs with 20 points and Derek Ogbeide had 16. Juwan Parker added 13.
Georgia made a 9-0 run to narrow the deficit to 48-47 with 13:20 left, but the Commodores pulled away after that.
Georgia finished a stretch of five road games in seven outings.
Vanderbilt scored the game’s first nine points on its way to a 39-31 halftime lead.
Drew was happy with the play of freshman center Ejike Obinna, Willis and Toye. “I thought Ejike had one of his better games out on the floor, just being physical and aggressive,” Drew said. “And then off the bench I thought Payton and Joe were fantastic. They each had a run where they carried us and both of them played really quality minutes.”
Commodores signee Darius Garland, a point guard at Brentwood Academy, was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith National High School Boys Basketball Player of the Year award on Tuesday.
Georgia hosts No. 8 Auburn on Saturday, trying to avenge a 79-65 loss in January when the Bulldogs blew a 14-point halftime lead.
Vanderbilt visits Arkansas (16-8) on Saturday at Bud Walton Arena where the Razorbacks are 12-1 this season.