NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)Andre Gordon scored 15 points, and Texas A&M beat Vanderbilt 69-50 Saturday to spoil the Commodores’ Southeastern Conference home opener.
The Commodores’ 22nd consecutive loss in league play is the least of first-year coach Jerry Stackhouse’s concerns. Sophomore guard Aaron Nesmith, the SEC’s leading scorer and fifth nationally averaging 23 points a game, watched from the bench forced to use a scooter to keep his weight off his right foot protected by a walking boot.
Jay Jay Chandler added 10 points for the Aggies (8-6, 2-1) who never trailed in winning their second straight.
Ejike Obinna and Maxwell Evans scored 12 points apiece to lead Vanderbilt, and Scotty Pippen Jr. added 10.
Texas A&M took control from the start and held Vanderbilt to a season low in points. The Aggies scored the first seven on their way to a double-digit lead. They used a 17-3 run to take their biggest lead at 28-12 on a layup by Miller. Even as Texas A&M went through a scoring drought, Vanderbilt (8-7, 0-2) couldn’t take advantage. The Commodores pulled within 32-20 on a 3-pointer by Saben Lee.
Vanderbilt made a trio of 3s in the first half – half the Commodores’ made buckets – as Texas A&M led 36-20. The Aggies just kept pushing the lead and were up 60-29 with 8:31 to go.
Nesmith had been one of only two players nationally to make seven or more 3s in a game four times this season as a 52.2% shooter outside the arc, and he had been Vanderbilt’s best scorer in a half century since Tom Hagan averaged 23.4 points a game in the 1968-69 season.
Without Nesmith, Stackhouse started Lee who had been coming off the bench this season. Stackhouse also was forced to play three walk-ons. Freshman Braelee Albert just arrived on campus in December but was on the court in the first half with Jon Jossell, a manager the past three seasons who had played only two minutes before Saturday. Junior walk-on Isaiah Rice got on the floor in the second half.
The Aggies came in ranked 23rd nationally holding opponents to 38.1% shooting and 22nd in scoring defense. They focused on smothering Lee with the junior coming off a career-high 27 points in Vandy’s 83-79 loss at No. 5 Auburn on Wednesday night. He finished with four points.
Texas A&M: The Aggies came in last in the SEC shooting just 38.8% from the floor. They turned in their best shooting half of the season in the first 20 minutes, hitting 15 of 28 for 53.6%. The Aggies finished 30 of 57 (52.6%).
Vanderbilt: At least the Commodores’ 3-point streak continues unabated. Pippen hit a pair of 3s in the first half to extend the school streak to 1,079 consecutive games for a 3 in every game played since the shot was added. … The Commodores at least cleaned up some issues. The Aggies scored 12 points off seven Vandy turnovers in the first half but had just four off seven in the second half.
Texas A&M: Hosts LSU on Tuesday night.
Vanderbilt: Visits Arkansas on Wednesday night.
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