Lawrence, Robbins Lead Dores to Bounce-Back Win

Vandy breaks skid with hard-fought win over Ole Miss

by Chad Bishop

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Liam Robbins flirted with a triple-double and helped the Commodores right the ship in a 74-69 win over visiting Mississippi on Saturday at Memorial Gymnasium.

Robbins finished 19 points, 12 rebounds, seven blocks, two assists and a steal as the Commodores snapped a three-game losing streak. They did so with an emphatic finish down the stretch of a game that had 20 lead changes.

“Last game against (Alabama) we got our butts kicked (in a 101-44 loss),” Robbins said. “But that wasn’t due to lack of game plan, that was due to lack of execution on our part.

“Guys made play. We got a great team here. Today it was a collective effort that won us the game.”

Nursing a 62-61 advantage with less than four minutes to go, Trey Thomas came off a screen at the top of the key and buried a 3 putting the home team ahead 65-61. Ezra Manjon’s shot-clock beating layup a minute later made it 67-61.

Those scores turned out to be part of a 10-0 run in which Vandy seized in control in more ways than one.

“We were tougher,” Robbins said. “We secured the rebounds we needed to secure. We finished the plays we needed to finish at the rim. It was just a collective effort of just grittiness. It’s the SEC and it’s not going to be an easy game. Ever. Made enough plays at the end to win that game.”

Vanderbilt (11-12, 4-6 SEC) had dropped three consecutive games to Kentucky, Texas A&M and Alabama, respectively. Those teams had a combined record of 49-17 going into Saturday’s action. 

But the Dores didn’t fold the tent Saturday. Instead they fought for 40 minutes against a desperate Rebels’ team that gave Vanderbilt all it wanted for 40 minutes.

Tyrin Lawrence also had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Quentin Millora-Brown added 10 points to go along with five rebounds.

Head coach Jerry Stackhouse’s squad returns to Memorial Gymnasium at 6 p.m. Wednesday to host rival No. 2 Tennessee (19-4, 8-2 SEC).

“That was really a fun game,” Stackhouse said of the win. “Our guys really responded after having a couple days to stew over a tough loss earlier this week that we were all shocked and embarrassed about. I thought we had a couple good days of preparations and the guys really came out and responded and it was a great win for us and hopefully something we can build on.”

Saturday’s first half saw 12 lead changes until the Commodores were able to edge in front for the remaining 4:37 of the first half. Robbins’ 3 put Vandy up 30-24—its biggest lead to that point—and an Emmanuel Ansong putback of his own miss made it 32-26.

The Commodores would have to settle for a 34-31 lead going into the break. Robbins had 11 points, six rebounds, four blocks and two assists.

Vandy stretched that lead back out to six, 39-33, less than a minute into the second period. But the Rebels went on a 6-0 run to tie it and then took a 42-21 lead on a Matthew Murrell 3-pointer.

Millora-Brown’s three-point play with 12:14 to go completed a 6-0 spurt giving the Commodores a 47-44 lead. It would be a dogfight for both teams from there.

Lawrence’s layup at the 6:26 mark was the 20th lead change of the contest. And as it would turn out, the Dores never trailed again.

“I think everyone just took a s second to look at themselves in the mirror and question themselves, ‘What can I do to help this team win?’ ” Millora-Brown. “It was just one of things where it was like, ‘Man, that really sucked, but there’s nothing we can do about the past.’

“All we can do is look forward to the next nine games, eight games now and do everything we can to win every game we can.”

Jaemyn Brakefield led Ole Miss (9-14, 1-9 SEC) with 15 points.

  • The last Commodore to record a triple-double was Luke Kornet on Jan. 12, 2016, with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks against Auburn.
  • Robbins now has the seventh-most blocks (57) in a single Vanderbilt season. Damian Jones is sixth with 70 during the 2014-15 season.
  • The double-double was the first of Lawrence’s career.
  • Saturday marked the first time Vanderbilt had two players with a double-double in the same game since Aaron Nesmith (24 points, 14 rebounds) and Yanni Wetzell (10 points, 10 rebounds) did so vs. Auburn on Feb. 16, 2019.
  • Vandy guard Jordan Wright did not play due to injury.
  • The Commodores are now 8-3 when leading at halftime this season, 9-5 when shooting more than 40 percent and 3-11 when scoring fewer than 75 points.
  • Vanderbilt is now 75-48 all time against Ole Miss and 45-10 in home games.
  • Vandy won its eighth home game after winning 11 in 2021-22. The team has four home games remaining this season.
  • Attendance on Saturday was announced as 7,237.

— Chad Bishop covers Vanderbilt for
Follow him @MrChadBishop.