NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Austin Bates came off the bench and scored a career-high 20 points as Vanderbilt held off Middle Tennessee State 70-56 Saturday in a game marred by a fight afterwards.

Vanderbilt (9-2) led 44-43 when the 6-foot-9 sophomore started a 15-5 run with the first of four baskets in the string that left the Commodores with their biggest lead at 57-48 with 6:12 left. Bates' previous high was 5 points against Rice earlier this month.

Middle Tennessee (4-4) last led 41-38 on Roni Bailey's 3-pointer. But the Blue Raiders were forced to play most of the second half with leading scorer Tim Gaither in foul trouble with center David Washington.

Frank Seckar, who had 19 points, reached the 1,000-point mark with a pair of free throws with 3:05 left. Drew Maddux added 13 for Vanderbilt.

Maddux threw up a 3-pointer from the left side as time ran out and dropped to the court when apparently hit by Bailey.

The teams started walking off the court when a pushing match broke out in front of the Vanderbilt bench. Middle Tennessee coach Dave Farrar and Vandy assistant Charles Davis were yelling at each other before they were pulled apart and Farrar was escorted away.

Aylton Tesch led Middle Tennessee with 15 points, Nod Carter 12 and Bailey 10. Gaither was held to 9.

A messy first half saw eight lead changes and three ties. Seckar keyed a 9-0 Vandy run with three straight baskets for a 21-12 edge before Gaither ended the run with a 3-pointer and Tesch scored three straight in Middle's own 11-1 streak that put the Blue Raiders up 23-22.

Vandy led 30-29 at halftime despite going 1-of-8 at the free throw line in the final 2:26.