Jones paces Vanderbilt past Lipscomb, 72-62

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Damian Jones started strong and finished strong – just what Vanderbilt needed.

The 6-foot-10 center scored 21 points and had six rebounds, leading the Commodores to a 72-62 win over Lipscomb on Thursday night.

“We better have that card to play or we’re going to have some trouble on nights,” Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. “We were able to get him the ball and he made some nice moves. He made a nice jump shot out there on the perimeter, which he’s worked hard on and been excited to break out.”

Stallings has high hopes for Jones, a preseason All-Southeastern Conference selection.

“He’s really tough and he’s proven that at the highest level,” Lipscomb coach Casey Alexander said. “You just can’t let him inch his way closer to the rim. He’s going to catch it and they do a lot of good stuff to get him the ball at the optimal spot.”

JonesJones hit 8 of 15 from the floor and 5 of 7 from the foul line.

“We have a lot of plays set up to get the ball to me in the post,” Jones said. “It keeps me going, it keeps my energy high always getting me the ball.”

Luke Kornet and Wade Baldwin IV added 11 points each for the Commodores.

Lipscomb (1-2) narrowed the deficit to 52-49 on Martin Smith’s foul shot with 10:08 left, but Vanderbilt’s Jeff Roberson and Baldwin answered with back-to-back 3-pointers to ignite a 13-2 run as the Commodores pulled away.

Lipscomb’s Josh Williams was held to 12 points, 10.5 below his average.

“I thought we did a reasonably good job on him,” Stallings said. “I thought our zone was very effective. We probably played more zone than I anticipated playing. I think maybe the zone helped slow him down perhaps a little bit.”

J.C. Hampton led Lipscomb with 13 points.

The Commodores (2-0) started three freshmen and two sophomores against the Bisons, members of the Atlantic Sun Conference.

Vanderbilt dominated inside, outscoring Lipscomb 30-18 in the paint.

Vanderbilt took charge quickly with a 16-1 run that gave the Commodores a 19-6 lead as Lipscomb went over 7 minutes without a field goal.

Vanderbilt’s James Siakam had six rebounds and two points after missing the season-opening win over Trevecca to attend his father’s funeral in Cameroon.

Lipscomb shot just 33.3 percent from the floor.

Lipscomb: The Bisons haven’t beaten Vanderbilt at Memorial Gym since 1939.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores extended their series lead to 24-4, including a 16-1 edge at Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt hosts Tennessee State on Sunday for its third straight home game against a Nashville opponent. Lipscomb hosts Transylvania on Saturday.

Vanderbilt and Lipscomb both made seven 3-pointers, but the Bisons shot a much lower percentage. Lipscomb was 7 of 28 and the Commodores were 7 of 15.

Lipscomb’s Martin Smith had a difficult shooting night, hitting 1 of 11. He made just 1 of 8 from beyond the 3-point arc.