|Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings gestures during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Bucknell on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Donn Jones)|
No. 18 Vanderbilt beats Bucknell 80-68
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Jeffery Taylor scored 14 points and led five players in double digits to help No. 18 Vanderbilt beat Bucknell 80-68 Tuesday night with two starters out due to injuries.
The Commodores (2-1) bounced back after losing to Cleveland State to drop from No. 7. John Jenkins, the Southeastern Conference's leading scorer last season, tweaked his right ankle in the loss, while senior center Festus Ezeli is out with a sprained knee until at least December.
Brad Tinsley, Lance Goulbourne and Kedren Johnson each added 12 points. Rod Odom had 10.
Vanderbilt plays N.C. State on Saturday in East Rutherford, N.J., in the semifinals of the Legends Classic.
Joe Willman led Bucknell (0-2) with 17 points. Joshea Singleton had 12 and Mike Muscala and Brian Fitzpatrick 10 apiece.
This was the first game between the Patriot League team and Vanderbilt, but Bucknell had beaten the last two SEC teams it played, including Arkansas in the 2006 NCAA tournament. The Bison also won the Patriot League last season with the conference's player of the year in Muscala, and they stayed in this game early by getting to the free throw line.
The Bison went 16 of 20 there compared to Vandy's 8 of 15. But the Commodores outrebounded Bucknell 39-32 and got plenty of help with 35 points from their bench players.
The Commodores opened the game still struggling to shoot just as they did in losing to Cleveland State. They missed five straight shots early, and Taylor picked up his second foul with 6:59 left. He went to the bench and stayed there the rest of the first half.
Bucknell kept it tight in the first half and last led 22-21 after Steven Kaspar hit a layup with 3:34 left.
Josh Henderson, a redshirt freshman helping fill in with Ezeli out, hit a short jumper that put Vandy ahead to stay with 2:46 left. Tinsley hit a jumper, then Dai-Jon Parker finished a fast-break with a layup for a 27-26 halftime lead. Vanderbilt kept building the lead from there, going up by as much as 76-55 on a 3-pointer by Parker with 2:30 left.
The Commodores found their touch in the second half and opened with a 12-2 run to take control. Johnson's 3-pointer made it 47-34 with 14:02 remaining. Vanderbilt, which went 2-of-15 from 3-point range in the first half, hit five of its first 8 beyond the arc in the second half. The Commodores kept pushing the lead out to as much as 76-55 on a 3-pointer by Parker with 2:30 left.