Vanderbilt pulls away from Tennessee State 83-59

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Getting benched in Thursday’s loss to Butler might end up being one of the best things to happen to Matthew Fisher-Davis.

The junior guard has played well in the two games since, including a 22 point-effort on Tuesday night in Vanderbilt’s 83-59 win, which gave Tennessee State its first loss of the season.

”I got sat down against Butler and me and (assistant) coach (Roger) Powell went back to the hotel and probably had a two-and-a-half hour talk about basketball,” Fisher-Davis said. ”And then we started talking about life. Ever since then I’ve had a completely different outlook and I’ve been at peace.”

Fisher-Davis certainly looked peaceful, making 6 of 10 shots from the floor and 8 of 11 from the foul line at Memorial Gym.

Tennessee State (6-1), off to its best start since moving to Division I in 1977, fell to 1-36 against Southeastern Conference teams and 0-9 against Vanderbilt (4-3).

Vanderbilt’s Jeff Roberson added 13 points and 7-foot-1 forward-center Luke Kornet and Riley LaChance both scored 12.

Freshman Payton Willis looked comfortable in his second game as a starter at point guard.

The Commodores went 10-of-23 from 3-point range and have made 25 3-pointers in the last two games.

”We have some excellent shooters and the hard part is getting them good looks,” Commodores coach Bryce Drew said. ”With Payton, when he can get the ball into the lane that helps us get some looks and then when Luke can collapse the defense and throws it out that gets us some good looks, too.”

Ken’Darrius Hamilton led the Tigers with 19 points. Darreon Reddick added 12.

”We weren’t us,” Hamilton said. ”That was just the only thing to it. We’ve got to get back to Tennessee State.”

Vanderbilt outrebounded Tennessee State 39-20 and enjoyed a 22-9 advantage in second-chance points.

”Our biggest fear coming into the game was their size and that was the deciding factor because we’ve never been outrebounded by 19, which happened tonight,” Tigers coach Dana Ford said. ”Some of that is size and some of it is lack of attention to detail and willingness to box out when their shot goes up, which we’ll try to fix starting tomorrow.”

Tennessee State’s Delanie Spencer, who came off the bench to score a career-high 18 points in Saturday’s win over Reinhardt, was held to six points.

TSU’s Tahjere McCall (14. 5 ppg) fouled out with eight points and Wayne Martin (14 ppg) scored just five. Jordan Reed was also well below his average (12 ppg) with six points.

The Commodores broke a 7-all tie with a 10-2 run capped by Fisher-Davis’ five straight points. Vanderbilt closed the first half with a 14-0 run, stretching its lead to 43-22 at halftime.


Tennessee State: The Tigers must regroup after their first loss and regain their offensive rhythm after shooting 41 percent from the floor.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores enter December with a little momentum, winning two consecutive games after solid outings by Fisher-Davis, Roberson, LaChance and Kornet.


Memphis Grizzlies rookie Wade Baldwin, a former Vanderbilt point guard, tweeted ”Mathew Fisher-Davis is the best shooter in the entire NCAA” late in the first half.


LaChance went 4-for-6 from 3-point range, making him 18-of-26 for a 69.2 percent clip in the last four games. He has played shooting guard, his best position, the past two games.

”When Matt’s got it going (from 3-point range), guys definitely help off me and other guys a lot so when he gets shots like that he definitely gets other guys open shots,” LaChance said of Fisher-Davis, who hit two 3-pointers.


Tennessee State visits Lipscomb, another Nashville opponent, on Saturday before heading to North Carolina State on Dec. 10.

Vanderbilt plays Minnesota (6-1) in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Saturday before returning home to face High Point on Dec. 6. High Point (4-3) rallied from a 20-point deficit during the final 10 minutes to edge Morgan State on Monday.