Vanderbilt knocks off La Salle, 68-55


NEW YORK (AP) — To hear Kevin Stallings tell it, Damian Jones may be Vanderbilt’s most indispensable player.

La Salle may agree with his viewpoint.

Jones’ 16 points led four players in double-figure as Vanderbilt topped La Salle 68-55 in the consolation game of the Barclays Center Classic Saturday night.

“Damian was pretty effective,” Stallings said. “I thought he was very, very effective especially early on when we were able to take control of the game. He’s getting better and better. The better he gets, of course the better it will be for our team.”

Riley LaChance had 14, and Luke Kornet and James Siakam added 10 apiece as Vanderbilt improved to 5-1.

La Salle’s Jarrell Wright led all scorers with 19 points, but the Explorers fell to 4-2 with their second loss in as many games. Steve Zack added 11 points.

“We need to get better,” La Salle coach Dr. John Giannini said. “We came here to be tested and frankly we failed our test this weekend.”

Vanderbilt turned its 30-20 halftime lead into a 17-point advantage (45-28) after Kornet’s left-wing 3 4:14 into the second half. La Salle wouldn’t get closer than 12 the rest of the way despite shooting 43.1 percent from the field.

Among the primary reasons was the Commodores proficiency from the foul line. Vanderbilt made six-of-nine from the stripe in the second half, including making five in the final 3:36. The Commodores finished 12-of-16 from the line

Wade Baldwin IV made five-of-six from the line for Vanderbilt. Jones was four-for-five, while Jeff Roberson was three-for-four.

By comparison, La Salle was only 7-for-11 from the line.

Vanderbilt also took care of the ball, committing just seven turnovers while recording 14 assists on 26 baskets. Baldwin and Shelton Mitchell tied La Salle’s D.J. Peterson with a game-high four assists.

But La Salle committed 10 turnovers against 11 assists.

“We’re a pretty good defensive team for the most part, when you look at (opponents shooting) percentages against us and things like that,” Stallings said. “Even (in the semifinal loss to Rutgers), they shot 39 percent for the game and only 31 percent on their first-shot attempts. I thought we defended (Rutgers) well in the first half (and) we did not defend them well in the second half. They made some shots on us from the perimeter.

“I though the key to (this) game was the job Jeff Roberson did on Jordan Price.”

Price finished with nine points on 3-of-10 shooting and committed three turnovers.

Additionally, the Explorers’ defense was somewhat exposed in the two games at Barclays Center. La Salle entered the tournament ranked 24th in the nation in points allowed with 55 per game, but yielded a combined 132 — 66 per game — in the two losses to Virginia and Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt improved to 2-0 all-time against La Salle. The other meeting between the SEC and A-10 programs was a 100-95 win for the Commodores on Dec. 17, 1966.

Tip Ins
Vanderbilt: The Commodores shot 54.2 percent from the field.
La Salle: The Explorers struggled from behind the line, as they made 4-of-14 from 3.

Up Next
Vanderbilt hosts Baylor on Dec. 4. La Salle welcomes Villanova on Dec. 3.