Flames on Deck

Commodores to play Liberty at 7 p.m. Saturday

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Vanderbilt men’s basketball team returns from the final exam break with a matchup with the Liberty Flames, one of five undefeated teams remaining this season in college basketball, on Saturday evening at Memorial Gym. The game will begin at 7 p.m. CT, with a live stream of the game airing on SEC Network+. 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.

Vanderbilt Basketball Quick Hitters

• The Commodores improved to 6-2 on the season after knocking off the Buffalo Bulls, 90-76, on Dec. 3 at Memorial Gym. Junior Saben Lee recorded a career-high 25 points and was a perfect 8-8 at the charity stripe to lead Vanderbilt. Sophomore Aaron Nesmith, the SEC’s leading scorer, added 16 points, senior Clevon Brown chipped in 14 points, and junior guard Maxwell Evans scored 13 points for Vanderbilt.

• Vanderbilt converted 22-26 chances at the free throw line for an 84.6%, their highest single-game percentage at the line this year.

• Lee claimed SEC Player of the Week honors after his performance against Buffalo, becoming the first Commodore to win the award since Jeff Roberson on Feb. 19, 2018.

• Lee joins Scotty Pippen Jr. as weekly honorees from the SEC this season. Pippen Jr. was named the SEC Freshman of the Week on Nov. 25 when he averaged  17 points, 5.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game in two Commodore wins over Austin Peay and South Carolina State, respectively.

• Nesmith is second in the nation in 3’s made per game (4.38), and leads the SEC in 3’s per game, 3-point field goal percentage (.515) and scoring (22.8). He is 7th nationally in points per game. Nesmith is also ranked in the top 10 in the SEC in field goal percentage (7th, .525).

• Nesmith (22.8) and Lee (17.4) are the second-highest-scoring duo in the nation behind Hampton’s Jermaine Marrow (24.9) & Ben Stanley (20.9).

• Nesmith and Lee have scored in double figures in every game this season. Nesmith has scored 20 or more in all but two of the Commodores’ first eight contests.

• Lee is sixth (17.4) in scoring, fourth in assists per game (6.3), seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.85), seventh in total free throws made (35), fifth in free throws attempted (48), and 10th in field goal percentage (.505) in the SEC.

• Other Commodores ranked in the top 10 in the SEC include Pippen Jr. (9th, assists/game, 4.5; 8th, ATO ratio, 1.8), Clevon Brown (4th, blocks/game, 1.9; 6th, offensive rebounds/game, 2.6), and Dylan Disu (10th, steals/game, 1.8).

• Disu registered a career-high three assists and five steals against Tulsa. His five steals were the most in a game since Riley LaChance had five steals vs. Penn on Dec. 22, 2014.

• Nesmith tallied a career-high 34 points in an overtime loss at Richmond on Nov. 14. It was the most points by a Vanderbilt player since Shan Foster vs. Miss. State (3/5/08), and the most points by a Vanderbilt player on the road since Billy McCaffrey at Georgia (35, 2/24/93).

• New head coach Jerry Stackhouse is the 28th men’s basketball coach in the history of Vanderbilt basketball. He is the first African American Commodore men’s basketball head coach and is one of two current African American head coaches in the Southeastern Conference (Cuonzo Martin, Missouri).

• As a team, the Commodores are first in the SEC in 3-point field goal percentage (.382) and threes made (10.1). Vanderbilt is third in field goal percentage (.485), and fourth in scoring offense (82.4) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.1). Vanderbilt is second in the SEC in fewest turnovers (107 committed) and third in turnover margin (1.6).

• A season ago, no Commodore had more than seven assists in a game. This season, it has been done four times by Saben Lee and once by Scotty Pippen Jr.

• Saben Lee was one of seven major conference underclassmen in 2018-19 with 400+ points, 100+ rebounds and 100+ assists, and was the only one in the SEC. (Terence Davis and Grant Williams were the only others in the SEC to reach those numbers.)

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

With a made three against Liberty, Vanderbilt will move to 1,073 consecutive games with a three-pointer.

• The Commodores have had five first-round NBA Draft picks since 2012, the second-most in the SEC in that time span – Darius Garland (5th, Cleveland Cavaliers), Wade Baldwin IV (17th, Memphis Grizzlies), Damian Jones (30th, Golden State Warriors), and John Jenkins (23rd, Atlanta) and Festus Ezeli (30th, Golden State). Garland, Jones, and former standout Luke Kornet (Chicago Bulls) are all active players in the NBA.

Series Information
Series Record:  Vanderbilt leads, 2-0
Last Meeting: Vanderbilt – W, 79-70
Nov. 19, 2018 – Nashville, Tenn.
At Vanderbilt: Vanderbilt leads, 2-0
Jerry Stackhouse vs. Liberty: First meeting

Media Information
Vanderbilt vs. Liberty
Nashville, Tenn. – Memorial Gym – 7 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network+
TV Talent: Kevin Ingram (pxp), Shan Foster (analyst)
Radio: Vanderbilt Radio Network from Learfield/IMG College, vucommodores.com
Radio Talent: Joe Fisher (pxp), Tim Thompson (analyst)
Live Stats: VandyStats.com
Twitter Updates:  @VandyMBB
Notes: @VandyNotes