Commodore MBB awaits Kent State Friday

The Vanderbilt Commodores men’s basketball team will once again be in front of their home crowd this Friday afternoon when they take on Kent State from the Mid-American Conference. The game will tip off at 4 p.m. CT and will be televised on SEC Network Plus.  Commodore fans can also tune into the game on the Vanderbilt IMG Radio Network with Joe Fisher and Tim Thompson on WLAC 1510 AM and 98.3 FM, and online on vucommodores.com and the vucommodores app.

The Commodores moved to 4-0 on the season with a 79-70 win over Liberty on November 19 at Memorial Gym.  Freshman guard Darius Garland tallied a career-high 33 points, the most points scored in the SEC this season and the second-most scored by a Vanderbilt freshman in a game (Mike Rhodes, 34 points vs. Virginia Tech, 12/22/77).  Sophomore guard Saben Lee added 17 points and junior forward Matt Ryan chipped in 10 points.

Black Friday Special
Spend Black Friday with the Black and Gold.  Fans can buy tickets for $10 at the door.

Vanderbilt Basketball Quick Hitters

  • Vanderbilt moved to 4-0 on the season, the best start since the 2015-16 when the Commodores started 5-0.
  • Shittu has scored in double figures in three of four games as a collegian.  He posted double-doubles in his first two games against Winthrop and USC, respectively.  He leads the SEC in rebounding with 9.8 rebounds per game.
  • Toye scored in double figures in three straight games for the first time of his four-year career in the first three games of the 2018-19 season.  Toye is the team’s lone senior.
  • Shittu’s tallied 15 rebounds against USC, the most by a Commodore since Jeff Roberson had 16 rebounds against Minnesota on December 3, 2016 in Sioux Falls, S.D. His 15 rebounds tied for the ninth-most by a Commodore in a single game in the last 20 seasons.
  • Freshman guard Darius Garland was named the SEC’s Freshman of the Week in the opening week of the year after averaging 21.5 points per game in two Commodore wins over Winthrop and USC.
  • Vanderbilt won its first road game of the season, the first time the Commodores have had a season-opening road win since a 72-70 win over St. Mary’s on November 20, 2009.
  • Garland scored the most points by a Vanderbilt freshman in his collegiate debut (24 points) since Phil Cox scored 30 against Duke in 1981.  He also tied Savion Flagg of Texas A&M for the most points scored for an SEC team in their opening game of the season.
  • Shittu’s double-double was the first by a Commodore freshman in a season opener since Ted Young tallied 18 points and 11 rebounds against Rice in 1979.
  • Garland has been named to the Naismith and Wooden Award Preseason Watch Lists, while Shittu was named to the Karl Malone Award Watch List, given to the nation’s top power forward.
  • According to KenPom, the Commodores rank 316th in the nation in terms of experience (1.13 years).
  • Head coach Bryce Drew, now in his third season, led the Commodores to the NCAA Tournament in his first season in Nashville, marking the first time in the history of the program a first-year Vanderbilt coach led his team to the tournament.
  • Redshirt sophomore forward Matthew Moyer, who transferred from Syracuse after the 2017-18 season, was granted immediate eligiblity by the NCAA this season on November 15.
  • As of November 20, Garland is third in the SEC in scoring (19.8), tied for fith in 3FG made (2.8), sixth in 3FG% (.478), and ninth in FG% (.528).  Besides leading the league in rebounding, Shittu also ranks first in defensive rebounds (7.3) and fifth in FG% (.575).
  • The Commodores have had five NBA Draft picks since 2012 – Wade Baldwin IV (17th, Memphis Grizzlies), Damian Jones (30th, Golden State Warriors), and John Jenkins (23rd, Atlanta), Festus Ezeli (30th, Golden State), and Jeffery Taylor (31st, Charlotte) in 2012.
  • Matthew Fisher-Davis, Riley LaChance and Jeff Roberson each departed Vanderbilt as 1,000-point scorers.  Each were four-year players for the Commodores who advanced to the postseason on three different occasions (2015 NIT, 2016 and 2017 NCAA Tournaments).  There has been only one other class of Vanderbilt players to have three 1,000-point scorers – the vaunted “F Troop” – Butch Feher, Joe Ford and Jeff Fosnes in 1976.  Roberson (Maine Red Claws) is now playing in the NBA G League, while LaChance has taken his talents to play professionally in Poland.

About Kent State

  • This will be the first meeting between the two schools.
  • Kent State enters the game with a 4-1 overall record after knocking off Savannah State, 104-84, on November 20.
  • Jalen Avery leads the Golden Flashes in scoring with 18.0 points per game.  He also leads the team in rebounding with 4.8 per game.

Media Information
Vanderbilt (4-0) vs. Kent State (4-1)
Nashville, Tenn. – Memorial Gym – 4 p.m. CT
TV:
SEC Network Plus
TV Talent: Kevin Ingram (pxp), Jessica Holman (analyst)
Radio:  Vanderbilt Radio Network from IMG College, vucommodores.com
Radio Talent: Joe Fisher (pxp), Tim Thompson (analyst)
Satellite Radio:  Sirius 98, XM 190
Live Stats: vucommodores.com
Twitter Updates:  @VandyMBB

Three Commodores on NBA Rosters
Former Commodores Damian Jones, Luke Kornet, and Wade Baldwin IV are currently on NBA active rosters.  Jones is averaging 16.5 minutes and 5.7 points per game with the Golden State Warriors this season and has won two championships with the team in his three seasons in the Bay Area.  Kornet is averaging 3.3 minutes per game with the New York Knicks, and Baldwin is averaging 5.0 minutes per game with the Portland Trail Blazers.

NBA Pro Day
The Commodores held the program’s first NBA Pro Day on October 9 at Memorial Gym, with 29 of the NBA’s 30 teams represented and 54 total scouts in attendance.

Ryan, Wetzell return to action
Matt Ryan, who comes to Vanderbilt from Notre Dame, played in two NCAA Tournaments and 72 total games with the Fighting Irish, while Yanni Wetzell averaged 13.6 points per game in two seasons at Division II St. Mary’s in Texas.  Ryan has had two games as a Commodore with four threes made (Winthrop, Alcorn State)

Three Point U
The Commodores are one of only three schools (UNLV and Princeton) to have made a three-point basket in every game since the inception of the three-point line in the 1986-87 season.

With a made three against Kent State, Vanderbilt will move to 1,036 consecutive games with a three-pointer.

Commodores in 86th SEC Season
Vanderbilt is now in its 86th SEC season and is a charter member of the league.  All time against current members of the conference, Vanderbilt is 715-706.

Against the Mid-American Conference
The Commodores are 14-1 all-time against the Mid-American Conference. Vanderbilt last played a MAC school on December 30, 2015, when they knocked off Western Michigan, 86-61.