Vanderbilt wins battle of old rivals, tops Sewanee


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Damian Jones scored 14 points and had eight rebounds and paced the Commodores to a 67-38 win over Sewanee Tuesday night in the team’s final exhibition game of the season at Memorial Gym.

A pair of freshmen, Shelton Mitchell and Wade Baldwin IV, also added 12 points apiece in the first meeting since 1961 between the two inaugural members of the Southeastern Conference.

“It was an okay performance for not shooting the ball worth a darn,” said Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings. “We didn’t shoot it at all really from the foul line or from the three. We defended and rebounded particularly towards the end of the game. Towards the end, I thought we started getting more aggressive on the offense. I thought Jeff Roberson in the second half gave us some good minutes, and he gave us ten rebounds.”

The Commodores did not have the shooting night it had against Illinois-Springfield in the exhibition opener, but Vanderbilt out rebounded the Tigers, 47-31, and held Sewanee to only 28.6% from the floor. The Commodores also forced 14 Tiger turnovers.

Although Vanderbilt never trailed in the game, the Commodores had to overcame a sluggish start early on against the Tigers. VU led by only two at 9-7 with 12:24 to go in the first half, but the Commodores reeled off 18 consecutive points to push their lead to 27-7 and led 30-11 at the half.

After shooting 37.5% from the floor in the first half, the Commodores were more efficient from the floor in the second half, converting on 46.2% of its attempts from the field. Vanderbilt held its largest lead at 30 with 6:56 to play in regulation.

Vanderbilt outscored Sewanee, 34-14, in the paint and 19-9 in points off of turnovers for the game.

Another freshman, Jeff Roberson, was the team’s leader in rebounding with 10. Mitchell and Jones each added eight rebounds apiece.

“Rebounding has been part of my game,” said Mitchell. “My coaches since I was younger always said I needed to rebound, just because it starts the break up faster, so hopefully I can keep on rebounding like I am, so we can start the break quicker. ”

Keshonn Carter was the Tigers’ leading scorer on the night with eight points.

The Commodores begin their regular season this Sunday against Trevecca with a 2 p.m. tip off at Memorial Gym.

“Is the team ready? I hope so,” said Stallings when asked about the upcoming regular season. “I think it’s obvious that we need James (Siakam), he’s going to be an important part of our team tonight and we missed some of the energy he brings. I hope we’re ready on Sunday because we have no choice but to be.”