Dores Run Out of Gas at SEC Tournament

Texas A&M knocks out Commodores at Bridgestone Arena

by Chad Bishop

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The sports gods giveth, and the sports gods taketh away.

After looking virtually unbeatable for the better part of three weeks, Vanderbilt ran into the buzzsaw that is Texas A&M on Saturday in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament. The result was an 87-75 loss at Bridgestone Arena.

Vandy (20-14) now awaits news of its postseason fate—to be determined Sunday. The Commodores will either be selected as an at-large team to play in the NCAA Tournament or be invited to the NIT for the second season in a row.

“We’ve beaten some really good teams, we finished in a decent spot in the best conference in the country,” freshman Colin Smith said. “All we can do is see what happens.”

Vanderbilt trailed by as many as 27 in a game it never led. All the energy and effort exerted winning 10 of 11 games appeared to have taken its toll on the Dores when they were up against the aggressive Aggies.

Texas A&M (25-8) had three players score in double figures and shot 59.6 percent from the floor in advancing to Sunday’s title game against Alabama.

Tyrin Lawrence led the Commodores with 18 and finished the tournament with 58 points for the tournament. Jordan Wright had 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists, Ezra Manjon added 16 points to go along with seven assists and Smith scored a career-high 15.

Vandy turned the ball over 17 times.

“Obviously really disappointed with the outcome of the game. Definitely not disappointed in our effort,” Vandy head coach Jerry Stackhouse said. “Our guys continued to battle and battle. We talked at halftime about coming out and maybe getting it to 10 at the 10-minute mark, and we got it really, really close.

“So super-proud of our guys and the way they fought, the way they competed.”

Saturday’s first half was nothing short of a nightmare for Vanderbilt. A&M could not miss—the Aggies made 17 of their first 22 shots, including seven 3-pointers, and opened a 42-16 lead 17+ minutes into the contest.

Texas A&M led 49-25 going into the locker room. Vandy had more turnovers (12) than made field goals (10) and gave up 13 fast break points in the first 20 minutes.

“It’s tough, but it’s no excuses. It’s part of it,” Stackhouse said of the slow start. “We made a run, we had an opportunity, we had some great looks there in the second half to close the distance and put a little more game pressure into the game. We just couldn’t find a way to get to knock those key shots down.

“I definitely felt like we were a little bit running in mud. I don’t know why though. The first minute or two of the game, just getting into our sets, we were a little bit slow. I thought we could have been a little bit more aggressive, and then we started getting aggressive with it there in the second half.”

The Commodores dug deep for a rally and got it to 60-48 with 11:50 to go. Then they were down 80-69 with 2:22 to go.

But they didn’t have enough left in the tank to get any closer.

Vanderbilt was hoping to reach the SEC Tournament final game for the first time since 2012.

“Our veteran guys, they left it all out there,” Stackhouse said. “They knew what we were playing for, knew what we were fighting for. So proud of them, proud of their effort.”


  • The last Vandy team to win at least three games at the SEC Tournament was the 2012 squad.
  • Wright now has 1,1356 career points and is now 39th on Vanderbilt’s all-time scoring list. Billy Joe Adcock (1,190) is 38th.
  • The Dores are now 5-4 in the SEC Tournament under Stackhouse and 44-60 all-time at the event. 
  • Vandy is now 10-8 all-time against Texas A&M and 2-2 against the Aggies in the SEC Tournament.
  • The Commodores are now 2-10 this season when trailing at halftime, 14-3 when scoring at least 75 points and 17-7 when shooting at least 40 percent from the field.

— Chad Bishop covers Vanderbilt for
Follow him @MrChadBishop.