Three games. Six days. Countless chances to get better.
Vanderbilt returns home at 7 p.m. Wednesday to host Austin Peay, the first of three contests in less than a week. The Commodores (2-1) will have much of their depth and stamina tested before Thanksgiving.
“I actually haven’t thought about it too much. The mindset is one game at a time,” Vanderbilt sophomore guard Aaron Nesmith said. “We got a game on Wednesday so after we play that game we’ll just come back Thursday and game plan for Friday. It’s not so much thinking about three games in six days.”
After Wednesday’s matchup with APSU, Vanderbilt hosts South Carolina State at 8 p.m. Friday and then Southeastern Louisiana at 7 p.m. Monday. Those three teams are a combined 4-6 – but none of those victories have come against Division I opposition.
Vanderbilt head coach Jerry Stackhouse, in his first season on the West End, said earlier this month that the focus remains more so on his team than the opponent. That will continue to hold true over the next week during the high volume of games.
“It could be better. Frankly it could better,” Stackhouse said about his team’s progression to this point. “We have to find guys that can bring the focus of what we need to do in the heat of battle. Eliminate the noise. The noise is from a lot of different things. I think for the most part it’s being able to lock in and focus on the play at hand, ‘Do my job.’
“I think once we adopt that a little bit more we’ll see good things happen for us.”
Vandy is also looking to start a new winning streak after its first loss of the season. On Thursday, Richmond made a single free throw with less than a second to play in overtime and sent the Dores home with a 93-92 defeat.
Nesmith scored 34 points in that one and is now averaging 26.7 points in three games. The sophomore from South Carolina has carried the Commodores offensively to this point.
Fellow guard Saben Lee, coming off the bench, is averaging 20 points per contest. The duo of Nesmith and Lee began the week with the highest combined scoring average (46.7 ppg) in the nation.
“I wouldn’t say I’m doing it on my own. It’s a team effort. That’s just the way the offense runs,” Nesmith said of his scoring prowess. “That’s just how the cards have feel so far this year. Let the ball pick who’s going to have the big night on any given night and just play that way every day.”
Nesmith and Lee will look to continue those scoring numbers against an Austin Peay team that beat Oakland City (Indiana) to start the year before losing at Western Kentucky and at Tulsa, respectively. The Governors won 22 games last season for head coach Matt Figger.
• Vanderbilt is 16-1 all-time against Austin Peay and has won 13 straight in the series. The Governors last beat Vandy in 1939-40 season opener 40-28.
• The Commodores have made at least one 3 in 1,067 straight games.
• Vanderbilt senior center Clevon Brown needs five blocks to pass Chris Woods (108) for the seventh-most blocks in a Vanderbilt career. Julian Terrell is sixth with 116.
• Nesmith now ranks 11th nationally in 3s made (17), is sixth in scoring average (26.7 ppg) and leads the nation in 3s made per game (5.67).
• Lee needs 196 points to reach 1,000 for his career.
• As a team, Vanderbilt is fourth nationally with 12.3 made 3s per game, 10th with 6.7 blocks per game and 40th with a team shooting percentage of 49.7.