Vanderbilt tops Gardner-Webb behind Roberson's career night

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Jeff Roberson, who missed the season opener with a concussion, scored a career-high 18 points and tied a career best with eight rebounds in his return, leading No. 17 Vanderbilt to a 98-62 win over Gardner-Webb on Monday night.

Riley LaChance added 13 points, including thee 3-pointers, for the Commodores (2-0).

Vanderbilt forward Luke Kornet went to the bench with a left ankle sprain with 2:17 left in the first half and did not return. The 7-foot-1 junior was off to a good start with a team-high 10 points at halftime.

Tyrell Nelson led Gardner-Webb (0-2) with 16 points, and Harold McBride added 10.

The Commodores, who return six of their top seven scorers from last season’s NIT quarterfinal team, forced 19 turnovers with their defensive pressure.

The Commodores outscored the Runnin’ Bulldogs 35-9 off turnovers.

Gardner-Webb, which beat Purdue and Clemson en route to a 20-win season last year, had an off night offensively, shooting 42 percent from the floor.

The Commodores hit 11 of 23 from beyond the 3-point stripe.

Vanderbilt’s Damian Jones, a 7-foot center, had a solid night with 10 points and seven rebounds.

Vanderbilt made a 16-0 run capped by Camron Justice’s 3-pointer to take a 21-5 lead early in the first half.

Strong starts have become the norm in the first two games for the Commodores, who scored the first 21 points to grab a 28-2 lead in a season-opening win over Austin Peay on Friday.

The Commodores enjoyed a double-digit lead for the rest of the first half, although McBride’s 3-pointer from just inside the half-court stripe cut Vanderbilt’s lead to 44-26 at the halftime buzzer.

Gardner-Webb opened the second half with a 9-2 run, cutting the deficit to 46-35. But Vanderbilt answered with a 9-0 run to take a 55-35 lead.

Vanderbilt hosts Stony Brook on Thursday. Gardner-Webb hosts Toccoa Falls on Thursday in the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ home opener.