Men's Basketball Cruises Past PR-Mayaguez 102-59 in San Jan Shootout Opener


Junior Guard

The Charlottesville, Virginia native contributed to the Commodores opening round win by connecting on the first three-point baskets of his career. Hammond and the rest of the VU bench logged a significant amount of time on the floor Tuesday, only helping the Commodores during a tough three-day tournament stretch.

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San Juan, PUERTO RICO — Dan Cage tied a career high with 18 points to lead six Commodores in double figures as Vanderbilt cruised past tournament-host Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, 102-59, Tuesday at Mario Morales Coliseum.

The victory extended Vanderbilt’s win streak to six games.

Cage put Vanderbilt (7-3) on track early with eight consecutive points, including a layup and two 3-pointers for a 17-6 advantage less than four minutes into the game. The last 3-pointer caught the attention of the local public address announcer who enthusiastically noted that Cage was “En Fuego.”

Cage ended the game seven of 11 from the field with four 3-pointers. He tallied 15 of his 18 points in the second half.

“I haven’t been shooting the ball well lately, but I got some easy looks early and that helped set the tone for the team,” Cage said. “The great thing about this team is we have a lot of unselfish guys and they were working hard to keep getting me open looks at the basket.”

Teammate Derrick Byars caught fire in the second stanza with 12 of his 16 points coming after intermission. Like Cage, Byars collected his points early, hitting two jumpers, a break away dunk and a pair of 3-pointers in the first seven minutes of the second half.

Byars finished seven of 12 from the field and also earned “En Fuego” acclaim from the public address announcer during the second half.

“If we want to have the success that we’re looking for in this tournament than Dan and Derrick are going to have to play well,” Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings said. “I was very pleased with their effort today.”

Vanderbilt, who led 52-30 at intermission, started the second half on a 24-8 run and never led by less than 30 points after the 14-minute mark. The Commodores enjoyed as much as a 44-point lead twice in the game before finishing with their largest margin of victory under Stallings.

Ross Neltner scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Ted Skuchas was perfect from the field in five attempts in posting 12 points and seven rebounds. Shan Foster had 11. Jermaine Beal added 10.

Mayaguez post player Williset Del Valle led the Bulldogs with a game-high 24 points to go along with seven rebounds.

Vanderbilt will play Tennessee Tech Wednesday at 1 p.m. CT.