Dores Start December With Dub

Commodores fend off Wofford to begin month with victory

by Chad Bishop

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt placed four in double figures, and got a clutch play from Tyrin Lawrence in the waning moments, to fend off visiting Wofford and start December right with a 65-62 victory Saturday in Memorial Gymnasium.

In a one-point game with less than 30 seconds remaining, Lawrence drove from the right corner down the baseline and finished an up-and-under layup making it 64-61.

Each team made a single free throw over the final 22 seconds to provide the final margin. Lawrence’s layup was Vandy’s lone field goal over the final 3:43 of the contest.



“(Wofford) stepped up and made plays for their team, but we withstood it and found a way to hold on,” Vandy head coach Jerry Stackhouse said. “Had a key basket, none bigger than (Lawrence’s) basket down the stretch getting into the paint and made a big basket for us.”

Vanderbilt (4-4) got back in the win column after a tough 70-65 defeat at Virginia Commonwealth on Wednesday. Saturday’s victory was a positive start as part of a seven-game stretch, six of which are in Nashville.

The Commodores’ only trip outside of the city limits this month will be Dec. 17 when they face North Carolina State in Chicago. The games circumventing that matchup should provide the program some opportunities to pile up victories if it plays with some of the poise and grittiness it showed Saturday.

“It’s a process for us. We can’t lose sight of that,” Stackhouse said. “We want to win them all, but we want to build that identity of who we are and continue to get better and trust the process.

“It’s not just about any particular game, win or loss right now, because I honestly feel that this team is capable, when we really figure out our identity and we understand what we want to do on both ends of the floor, that we can go on a big streak and stack some wins and put ourselves in a good position for the postseason.”

Vanderbilt played a solid first 20 minutes against Wofford, 20 minutes in which it never trailed.

Myles Stute was the catalyst early by scoring 11 points in the first 5 1/2 minutes helping Vandy to a 13-8 lead. Stute picked up a second foul shortly after that, but Liam Robbins and Ezra Manjon picked up the slack.

Robbins scored six to go along with two rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block while Manjon scored seven. Lawrence was active as well by scoring five, grabbing three boards and picking up a pair of steals.

It all led to a 34-25 lead at the break for the Commodores. They shot 43.3 percent from the floor and an active defense held the Terriers to a 35.7 percent shooting clip.

Wofford (5-4) started the second half enthused and effective which led to a 10-0 run and 35-34 lead. Trey Thomas restored order with a triple from the left corner giving Vanderbilt the lead back.

The two tides would exchange punches from there until a soaring, two-handed dunk from Robbins put the Commodores up 57-52 with 7:28 on the clock. Vandy would hold from there despite scoring just three points over the final 3:43 of the game.

“We’re going to make it a little bit tougher than it needs to be. That’s kind of our way right now,” Stackhouse said. “But hopefully as we continue to build and our process continues to moves forward they way that we want it to we’ll be able to close our games a little easier and a little better than we did tonight.”

Robbins led Vandy with 14 and was a rebound short of a double-double. Lawrence had 13 while Manjon and Stute added 11 each.

Vandy is scheduled to be back on the floor at 8 p.m. Wednesday against Pittsburgh (6-3), a team it defeated 68-52 last season.

— Chad Bishop covers Vanderbilt for
Follow him @MrChadBishop.