ANAHEIM, Calif. – Liam Robbins scored a team-high 20 points to go with a career-high eight blocks to lead the Vanderbilt men’s basketball team to a 67-59 win over Fresno State on Thursday in the third-place game of the Wooden Legacy.
The eight blocks are tied for the most by an NCAA Division I men’s basketball student-athlete in a game this season.
Vanderbilt (3-3) also received standout performances from Tyrin Lawrence with 19 points and three assists, as well as 16 points and five rebounds from Myles Stute.
Vandy found itself down by seven in the first half before roaring back for a 31-26 halftime edge over the Bulldogs.
A strong start to the second half put the Commodores up 44-33 with 16:29 to play. Fresno State regained the advantage at 58-57 with just over three minutes to go. An 11-2 run by the Doors down the stretch proved to be the difference in the game.
Vandy committed just eight turnovers on the night and finished with 12 assists highlighted by six from Ezra Manjon.
Next up, Vanderbilt heads to Richmond, Virginia, to take on VCU on Nov. 30.
Quotes from Vanderbilt head coach Jerry Stackhouse
“This was a really gutsy win from our group. We were down some bodies, we were down a starter in [F] Quentin Millora-Brown who had the flu. Another player, [G] Noah Shelby had the flu. [G] Ezra Manjon just battled. He wasn’t healthy tonight, he wasn’t himself, he hasn’t been himself the last couple of days but he gave us everything he had. [G] Jordan Wright hurt his back last night but he was able to gut it through. But the guys that were out there, [G] Tyrin [Lawrence], [C] Liam [Robbins], [F} Myles Stute, they played like veteran players. They’re guys that know what we’re doing and they got the win for us tonight. I’m really proud of our group, proud of how we were able to just weather the storm. It wasn’t a perfect game, it was a little bit of an ugly game, but we’d rather win ugly than lose pretty any night. I’m proud of our guys.”
(On holding off Fresno State in the second half) The guys just battled, I think that was it. It was all the ebbs and flows in this game. We got up a little bit, they got up a little bit, we got back, we got up a little bit. Those guys [Fresno State] were a desperate team. There’s a lot of pride in that group. That was a 23-win team from last year and they just got off to a slow start this year. Before it’s all said and done, I think you’re going to hear a lot from Fresno State. They have guys that can really score the basketball, they take pride in what they do on the defensive end, and they’re really in the gaps, they’re scrappy, and they made everything tough for us. This is a big win for us. I thought Liam [Robbins] came in and really protected the rim for us. He had eight blocks and he probably affected five or six more around the rim. If we don’t have that type of protection, they have the guys that can convert around the rim and can play above the rim. We were fortunate that he played at a high level tonight and that a number of our guys played at a high level.”
(On Jr. F Myles Stute) – “Myles has been consistent for us. Myles has been really steady all year. He’s a guy that we try to get as many good looks as we can, especially big looks when we’re down and just need a bucket. He’s a guy that we try to draw something up for to give him a good look. He’s super confident with his shot, he’s gotten better putting the ball on the floor. I think if he continues to showcase that along with his shooting ability, he’s going to have a real opportunity to display that at the next level. He’s just a great team guy. He’s been rebounding the ball for us. He’s probably been our most consistent player so far this year. We’ve had some ups and downs and haven’t played as well as we would have liked to, but we’re in a good spot. We know that we’re building, we know that we’re developing. I’m proud of him, proud of Tyrin [Lawrence] and Jordan [Wright]. Those guys are giving us the leadership that we need and that’s what we’re looking for, especially with our younger guys. We have a lot of freshmen that we have high hopes for, but they have good examples in front of them with those guys. Guys like Ezra [Manjon] who’s an unbelievable person, not just a player. These last two games haven’t been a real indicator of who he is and what he’s capable of doing because he’s been under the weather. But besides that, he’s just a beautiful person. I think all of our guys kind of gravitate to him and what he’s about. He’s a faith based guy like I am – I’m a preacher’s kid. Even though I say some words sometimes you might not think that, but we do believe in a higher power that’s protecting us and hopefully he has big plans for us to do something special this year.”
(On his takeaways from the tournament) – “It was really good. That Saint Mary’s team is a really good team. I was telling our guys when we watched the film today that they do some things that we aspire to do. I think he [Saint Mary’s Head Coach Randy Bennett] does a great job. That guy could coach anywhere. I know he’s probably found a home at Saint Mary’s but he’s as good as any coach I’ve faced. When he gets those guys to play and pay attention to detail, that’s what we preach all the time. We have another level to go to get to where they are. With that said, due to some kind of self-inflicted wounds, we weren’t able to get that game last night. Because we’re a really good team ourselves and I think that we will continue to grow, this was a big step for us tonight. To be able to win this game, bounce back and not have a hangover. It would have been easy to have a hangover from last night because we were disappointed. We sat in the film session and saw all the things that we know how to do right that we did wrong, and you can have a hangover from that. But I thought our guys came out and responded and gave us everything they had, being a little undermanned tonight.