NASHVILLE (AP)Aaron Nesmith tied a career-high with 34 points, Saben Lee added 14, and Vanderbilt overpowered North Carolina-Wilmington for an 88-73 victory Saturday night.
Nesmith also hit a career best 7 3-pointers on 10 attempts and was 9-for-11 from the free throw line for Vanderbilt (7-4).
UNC-Wilmington (5-8) was led by Jaylen Sims’ 19 points. Mike Okauru threw in 12, Kai Toews added 11, and Brian Tolefree had 10.
Nesmith is third in the nation in 3-pointers made per game (4.0) and hit that many in the first half as the Commodores took a 42-32 lead at the break with Nesmith supplying 20 points.
UNC-Wilmington traded baskets early with Vanderbilt, then used an 8-2 run to tie the game at 13 at 12:23 in the first half. Vanderbilt built its biggest lead of the half at 42-29 on a layup and free-throw by Lee, but the Seahawks answered with a 3-pointer by Sims at the buzzer.
Despite being without their best inside offensive threat and leading rebounder, Clevon Brown, who missed his second game in a row with a knee injury, the Commodores outscored UNC-Wilmington 30-22 in the paint.
Vanderbilt: Coming off two straight losses, the Commodores look to get some key contributors healthy and back in the rotation.
UNC-Wilmington: The young Seahawks want to end their losing ways in December. They have lost four in a row and 11 straight December games since 2017.
Vanderbilt will try to keep its winning ways intact by hosting Davidson on Dec. 30 after a holiday break.
UNC-Wilmington travels to Delaware on Dec. 28.