Commodores close 2014 with a bang at Saint Louis

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Riley LaChance put it all together. He was a big reason Vanderbilt won going away.

“For me, this is his best game,” coach Kevin Stallings said after the Commodores beat Saint Louis 70-55 on Wednesday. “He impacted the game on the boards, he impacted the game on the offensive end and he impacted the game on the defensive end.

“There’s nothing in his system that allows him to back up.”

LaChance made 3 of 4 from 3-point range and had 19 points, seven rebounds and four assists, and played a team-high 33 minutes.

James Siakam’s dunk with 3:13 left capped an 8-0 run for Vanderbilt (9-3) that put the game comfortably out of reach at 64-49.

Saint Louis (8-5) trailed 50-33 midway through the second half but rallied with a 14-4 run to get back within seven.

LaChance was 7 of 9 from the field. Damian Jones added 15 points and six rebounds for the Commodores.

Achraf Yacoubou and Austin McBroom both had three 3-pointers and 15 points to lead the Billikens, rebuilding with five new starters. Milik Yarbrough added 13 points.

“We’re not at the mile marker we want to be at, but we’re on the right road,” coach Jim Crews said “That’s how I see it.

“Actually, I think we’re further along, to be perfectly blunt.”

The Commodores took control in the first half with a 27-14 lead with 7:14 remaining and finished the period shooting 59.6 percent. Saint Louis scored the last five points of the half, including one of Yacoubou’s 3-pointers in the final seconds, to get the deficit down to 33-26.

After Vanderbilt’s Jeff Roberson opened the second half with a layup, McBroom hit a 3 to get the Billikens as close as they would get the rest of the way at 35-29.

The Commodores shot 54.3 percent for the game with 6 of 11 from 3-point range and outrebounded Saint Louis 39-26.

The Billikens shot only 31.0 percent in the second half and 3 of 14 from long distance.

Vanderbilt: Sophomore F Damian Jones is off to a great start. His 15 points and six rebounds on Wednesday came just short of his season averages of 16.5 points and 7.1 rebounds. … The Commodores had a 39-26 rebounding advantage and Jones gave them a presence inside. … “Exploit’s the wrong word,” coach Kevin Stallings said. “Damian Jones is our best player, we’re going to throw the ball to him no matter who we’re playing against. Our success is going to depend on whether he can be effective.”

Saint Louis: Junior G Austin McBroom entered the game shooting 25 of 51 from 3-point range. His 3-for-6 performance kept him one shot shy of the 50 percent mark for the season.

Vanderbilt finishes its nonconference schedule by hosting Yale to on Saturday.

Saint Louis hosts Rhode Island to open Atlantic 10 play for both teams on Saturday. Coach Jim Crews said it’s tough to tell whether his team is ready. “I almost don’t care who you play,” Crews said. “You can play a murderer’s row but in conference play it’s different. It’s apples and oranges, it just is.”