No. 20 Vandy loses 82-70 OT to No. 11 Xavier
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Vanderbilt Commodores can build big leads. Holding onto them, even on their own court at Memorial Gym, continues to be a big problem, even in a new season.
The Commodores blew a handful of big leads last season. On Monday night and ranked 20th, they wasted a 10-point lead in the second half when they lost their shooting touch in the final 3:55 of regulation and were outscored 16-4 in overtime in losing 82-70 to No. 11 Xavier on Monday night.
"We had it under control in the second half, had a few of our reserves in, and they gave the lead away quickly," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. "We put in our starters and fought to get it back to a two- to four-point lead and couldn't hit shots in the end."
The Commodores started the season ranked seventh in the country, their highest ranking since 1965. Now they already have lost twice at home, falling to 5-2. This time, they were up 46-36 with 15:37 left. But after John Jenkins hit a 3 with 3:56 left in regulation, they didn't' score again until Jenkins hit a jumper with 2:17 remaining in overtime.
Xavier (5-0) scored the final four points of regulation. Told the Commodores were outscored 20-4 to finish the game, senior Lance Goulbourne looked at a stat sheet and repeated the number.
"Our defense was pretty solid, but it kind of slipped a little bit there," Goulbourne said. "Our rebounding was not good at all."
Mark Lyons scored with 6.5 seconds left in regulation to tie it up at 66, and Goulbourne's last shot hit off the backboard before clanking off the rim.
Tu Holloway scored 10 of his 24 points in overtime as Xavier won its first road game this season to improve to 5-0 in the best start yet in coach Chris Mack's third season.
"Them being without (Festus) Ezeli helped us," Mack said of Vandy's senior center who's out with a sprained right knee. "He can be like a kid in a candy store if he's not in foul trouble. I am proud of our kids. It is their first game on the road in a very hostile environment."
Xavier trailed by as much as 10. The Musketeers scored the final four points of regulation, including Lyons' short jumper with 6.5 seconds left to force overtime. Wells hit two free throws, and Holloway knocked down two 3-pointers to cap a 12-0 run ending with 2:27 remaining in overtime that put Xavier up 74-66.
"We've been down before a lot of times and we came back a lot of times, so there was no pressure on us," Lyons said. "We just wanted to come out there and get the win."
Lyons had 19 points for Xavier, and Travis Taylor added 11.
John Jenkins led Vanderbilt (5-2) with 20 points. Goulbourne and Jeffery Taylor had 18 apiece.
Stallings was disappointed in his Commodores turning the ball over 18 times.
"Turnovers are generally careless or selfish," Stallings said. "Neither of those has anything to do with the other team."
Vandy had two chances to pull out the victory in regulation.
Andre Walker, who spent his first four years at Vandy before graduating in May and transferring to Xavier, guarded Jenkins who forced up a short jumper with 12 seconds left that missed. Walker got the rebound up to Lyons who raced downcourt for the tying bucket.
"I know the situation that we were in, and I feel like it didn't matter who it was I was going to do my best to shut him down," said Walker, who also had a team-high 14 rebounds. "I just knew he liked to go, he liked to ball fake and go into people, so I just held my ground on him."
Steve Tchiengang took responsibility for not setting the screen to help free a shooter.
"That's a play we work on all the time in practice," Stallings said.
The Musketeers outrebounded Vanderbilt 54-33 and outscored the Commodores 22-8 off turnovers. They also had a big edge at the free throw line (20 of 27) compared to Vandy (9 of 12), and they hit all eight during overtime.
Xavier also had 7-footer Kenny Frease. The Commodores tried defending him with Tchiengang, who is 3 inches shorter and 35 pounds lighter. Tchiengang fouled out in overtime. Frease finished with six points and four rebounds in only 20 minutes due to foul trouble.
The Musketeers whittled away Vandy's 10-point lead with 10 quick points in a spurt keyed by three steals, two by Lyons. Holloway had a shot blocked by Dai-Jon Parker who blocked another before officials called goaltending on Taylor's bucket with 11:51 remaining for a 52-51 lead -- the Musketeers' first since 6:35 of the first half.