Commodores return to floor to take on Tennessee State Saturday

The Vanderbilt Commodores return from their holiday break with two home games in three days, with Tennessee State starting off the festivities on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Gym.  The game will tip off at 12:30 p.m. CT and will be streamed live on SEC Network Plus.  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 and the vucommodores app.

The Commodores fell to 7-3 on the season after dropping a 69-58 decision to Kansas State on December 22 in Kansas City.  Junior Matt Ryan led the team with 14 points, with senior Joe Toye adding 11 points and freshman Simisola Shittu pitching in 10 points.  Ryan also made four threes in a game for the third time this season.  The Wildcats held the Commodores to 31.9% from the floor and 28.0% from three and Vanderbilt fell to 0-3 when trailing at the half and lost their first game when making more threes than their opponent.

This is the 10th career meeting between the two teams, with all ten meetings occurring at Memorial Gym.

Vanderbilt Basketball Quick Hitters

  • Prior to the game against Kansas State, Vanderbilt knocked off nationally-ranked Arizona State at Memorial Gym on December 17th.  The win snapped an eight-game losing streak to ranked opponents, dating back to a 72-62 overtime win over 17th-ranked Florida at the 2017 SEC Tournament (3/10/17) at Bridgestone Arena.
  • Nine Commodores have scored in double figures in a game so far this season.
  • The Commodores are first in the SEC and 19th nationally in fewest fouls against.  Vanderbilt is second in the SEC in 3FG% defense (30.3%), third in fewest total turnovers (136), third in defensive rebounds per game (29.9), fourth in 3FG made per game (8.7), and fourth in total rebounds per game (40.4).  The Commodores are fifth in the league in FG% defense (39.8), scoring offense (81.0), and 3FG% (35.7).  
  • Freshman point guard Darius Garland, a five-star recruit and a 2018 McDonald’s All-American, was lost for the season after suffering a meniscus injury in his left knee against Kent State on November 23.  He suffered the injury two minutes into the game against the Golden Flashes.  Garland was named the SEC’s Freshman of the Week in the opening week of the year after averaging 21.5 points per game in two Commodore wins over Winthrop and USC.  
  • Sophomore Saben Lee has stepped in as the team’s starting point guard in Garland’s absence.
  • On November 27, the Commodores scored 120 points against Savannah State, the most by a Vanderbilt team since December 22, 1970, when Vanderbilt scored a program-best 130 points in a win over Ole Miss (130-112).  
  • Joe Toye scored in double figures in three straight games for the first time of his four-year career in the first three games of the 2018-19 season and has double-digit points in seven games this season.  Toye is the team’s lone senior.
  • Vanderbilt won their 800th career game at Memorial Gym against Arizona State on December 17.  Memorial Gym, which opened in 1952, is the oldest basketball arena in the SEC.
  • As of December 27, Shittu is fifth in defensive rebounds (5.9), field goal percentage (52.8%), and double-doubles (2), and seventh in rebounds per game (7.6).  Saben Lee is third in FT’s made, sixth in FT’s attempted, and 10th in assists (3.8), and Matt Ryan is fourth in 3FG% (39.1) and fifth in 3FG made (2.5 per game).
  • Vanderbilt won its first road game of the season at USC, the first time the Commodores have had a season-opening road win since a 72-70 win over St. Mary’s on November 20, 2009.  
  • Garland scored the most points by a Vanderbilt freshman in his collegiate debut (24 points) since Phil Cox scored 30 against Duke in 1981.  He also tied Savion Flagg of Texas A&M for the most points scored for an SEC team in their opening game of the season.
  • Shittu’s double-double in the season-opener was the first by a Commodore freshman in a season opener since Ted Young tallied 18 points and 11 rebounds against Rice in 1979.
  • According to KenPom, the Commodores rank 311th in the nation in terms of experience (1.21 years).
  • Head coach Bryce Drew, now in his third season, led the Commodores to the NCAA Tournament in his first season in Nashville, marking the first time in the history of the program a first-year Vanderbilt coach led his team to the tournament. 
  • Redshirt sophomore forward Matthew Moyer, who transferred from Syracuse after the 2017-18 season, was granted immediate eligiblity by the NCAA this season on November 15.

About Tennessee State

  • Tennessee State enters Saturday’s game with a 3-8 record after dropping a 99-41 decision at Memphis on December 22.
  • Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey leads the team in scoring with 15.7 points per game.  Kamar McKnight also averages double figures with 13.1 points per game.
  • Tiger Director of Operations Matt Richardson is the son of former Vanderbilt assistant coach Tom Richardson.

Vanderbilt (7-3) vs. Tennesee State (3-8)
Nashville, Tenn. – Memorial Gym – 12:30 p.m. CT
SEC Network +
TV Talent: Kevin Ingram (pxp), Shan Foster (analyst)
Radio:  Vanderbilt Radio Network from IMG College,
Radio Talent: Joe Fisher (pxp), Tim Thompson (analyst)
Satellite Radio:  XM 383
Live Stats:
Twitter Updates:  @VandyMBB

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

With a made three against Tennessee State, Vanderbilt will move to 1,042 consecutive games with a three-pointer.

Freshmen Leading the Charge
The Commodores are one of only two programs (Duke) in the nation to have three separate freshman score 20 points or more in a game (Darius Garland, Aaron Nesmith, Simisola Shittu)

A freshman has also led the Commodores in scoring in every game this season.

Commodores in 86th SEC Season
Vanderbilt is now in its 86th SEC season and is a charter member of the league.  All time against current members of the conference, Vanderbilt is 715-706.

Against OVC
The Commodores are 61-9 all time against members of the Ohio Valley Conference.