NASHVILLE, Tenn. — SEC season has begun and the Commodores will kick off their conference slate against the No. 5-ranked Auburn Tigers on Wednesday evening at Auburn Arena.
The game will begin at 8 p.m. and will be aired live on the 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 ended the nonconference portion of their 2019-20 schedule with an 8-5 record after dropping a 92-81 overtime decision Jan. 4 to SMU. The SEC’s leading scorer, Aaron Nesmith, scored a game-high 28 points, his ninth game this season with 20 or more points, and made a career-high eight three pointers. Scotty Pippen Jr. also scored in double figures with 15 points, his eighth game in double figures this season.
• Nesmith leads the SEC in scoring with 23.4 points per game and is fifth nationally. He also leads the SEC in 3-pointers/game with 4.31 (second nationally) and 3-point field goal percentage at .514 (second nationally). He has also made an SEC-best 56 threes this season. He also ranks fourth in free-throw percentage (.867) and seventh in field-goal percentage (.513).
• Nesmith is one of two players in the nation to make seven or more threes in a game four times this season (Dru Kuxhausen, McNeese State). Also, his scoring average of 23.4 points per game would match Tom Hagan’s program-best in the 1968-69 season.
• Nesmith has scored 34 points twice this season – against UNC Wilmington on Dec. 21 and earlier this season at Richmond on Nov. 14. Nesmith’s performance against the Spiders 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). Nesmith is the first Vanderbilt player since Shan Foster in 2008 to score 30 or more points in multiple games in a season.
• Nesmith (22.9) and Lee (16.5) are the third-highest-scoring duo in the nation behind Hampton’s Jermaine Marrow (23.5) and Ben Stanley (21.3) and Texas-San Antonio’s Jhivvan Jackson (25.3) and Keaton Wallace (16.9).
• Nesmith and Lee have scored in double figures in all but one game this season. Nesmith has scored 20 or more in eight Vanderbilt games this season, Lee in three games.
• Auburn will be the Commodores’ first ranked opponent this season. Vanderbilt has lost six consecutive games to ranked opponents dating back to an 81-65 win over No. 17 Arizona State on Dec. 17, 2018. Vanderbilt’s last win over a ranked opponent on the road was a 68-66 win over Florida on Jan. 21, 2017. Vanderbilt is 95-242 all-time against ranked opponents and 20-144 in road contests.
• Lee is fifth in the SEC in assists per game (5.5), 10th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.65), and eighth in field goal percentage (.503) in the SEC.
• 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.
• Scottie Pippen Jr. is also ranked in the top 10 in the SEC in assists/game (ninth, 4.6), free throws made (sixth, 50), free throws attempted (fifth, 71), and assist-to-turnover ratio (fourth, 1.94).
• 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 (.383), second in 3s made/game (9.8) and field goal percentage (.469). Vanderbilt has been to the charity stripe 296 times this season which ranks third in the SEC.
• The Commodores are one of only three schools (UNLV and Princeton) to have made a 3-point basket since the inception of the 3-point line in the 1986-87 season.
With a made 3 against Auburn, Vanderbilt will move to 1,078 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 Record: Vanderbilt leads, 89-53
Last Meeting: Auburn – W, 64-53
Feb. 16, 2019 – Nashville, Tenn.
At Auburn: Vanderbilt leads, 35-30
Jerry Stackhouse vs. Auburn: First meeting
Auburn Series Records/Important Dates
• Auburn has won two in a row in the series. The win in 2018 stopped a 13-game Commodore win streak from 2008-2017.
• Vanderbilt’s 89 wins over Auburn is the second-most against a league opponent. The Commodores have 92 wins against Georgia.
• The Commodores have played a ranked Auburn team seven other times (2019, 2018, 2000, 1999, 1987, 1984, 1959) with three of those coming at Auburn. Vanderbilt is 1-6 in all games and 1-2 in games played at Auburn against ranked Tiger teams (win, Jan. 17, 1987).
• 12.30.53 – Vanderbilt defeated Auburn 96-48 at Memorial Gym. The 48-point win ties for the largest margin of victory for the Commodores in an SEC game (win over Ole Miss, 106-58, Jan. 10, 1966).
• 2.22.14 – Vanderbilt turned to two walk-ons, Carter Josephs and Nathan Watkins, to secure a 67-59 win over Auburn at Auburn Arena. Josephs dished out nine assists with no turnovers and Watkins, who hadn’t played more than two minutes in a game, had seven points in 16 minutes.
Vanderbilt (8-5, 0-0 SEC) vs. Auburn (13-0, 1-0 SEC)
Auburn, Ala. – Auburn Arena – 8 p.m.
TV: SEC Network
TV Talent: Mike Morgan (pxp), Jon Sundvold (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