Photography:Jim Brown

Poor-Shooting Auburn Struggled In a Loss at Vanderbilt

Auburn never recovered from a slow start as the Tigers dropped a second consecutive basketball game falling to Vandy in Nashville.

Nashville, Tenn.--Vanderbilt junior guard Matthew Fisher-Davis scored a career-high 33 points while Auburn finished with a season-low points total as the Tigers fell 80-61 to the Commodores on Wednesday night at Memorial Gym.

The home team improved to 2-0 in Southeastern Conference play as it jumped on Auburn early, running out to a 21-2 lead at the 13:48 mark. Auburn was never able to cut the margin back into single figures as the Tigers dropped to 0-2 in the SEC and 10-4 overall.

"Vanderbilt played great," said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl. "They had their way with us.  I'm very disappointed in our defensive effort. We got the ball to the rim a lot but couldn't score. It was very difficult at the beginning when they jumped on us and took it away quickly."

Jared Harper led Auburn in scoring with 19 points. The freshman point guard scored 14 in the second half. Freshman guard Mustapha Heron finished with 13 points while freshman forward Danjel Purifoy added 10 points.

Photography: Jim Brown

Danjel Purifoy brings the ball up court vs. Vanderbilt on Wednesday night.

Fisher-Davis was 7-14 on three-pointers and his team finished with 14 treys on 33 attempts. He doubled his scoring average of 16.4 points per game. Auburn was 6-21 on three-point shots.

"He is a terrific shooter and does a great job of getting open," Pearl said of Fisher-Davis. "He got a lot in transition, too, because we weren't executing and turning the ball over."

The overall field goal percentages were substantially different. Auburn hit just 22-68 field goals (32.4 percent) while the Commodores made 28-58 (48.3 percent).

At the foul line Auburn hit 11-13 while the home team was 10-16.

Vandy led in rebounds 41-37 and turned the ball over 14 times, two more than the Tigers. Seven-footer Luke Kornet led the Vandy rebounding effort with 11 while adding 10 points.

Heron and fellow freshman Anfernee McLemore led Auburn in rebounds with six apiece.

The Tigers got six points from Austin Wiley, four from McLemore and T.J. Dunans, three from Bryce Brown two from Horace Spencer.

Vanderbilt, which improved to 8-6 for the season, led 46-29 at halftime as Auburn made just 9-29 field goals in the period while Vandy hit 15-31, including a eight treys.

Vandy's coach, Bryce Drew, said he went into the game concerned about Auburn's potential to force turnovers and get hot shooting the ball, but neither turned out to be an issue for the Commodores. "I thought the end of the first half and the start of the second half were big for us to get momentum going into the locker room and then come out and be able to build on that."

Asked if the Commodores focused on running the offense to feature Fisher-Davis after he got off to a good start with four treys in the opening seven minutes, Drew said, "I think when a player gets hot you obviously don't want to break his rhythm, but you also don't want to try force a rhythm either so we tried to do a little bit of both."

Drew added, "I thought he took really good shots tonight. That he was able to get 20 shots is a credit to him moving on offense and to our other guys, who I thought the ball to him in good positions."

Worth Noting, Part 1: Auburn's leading scorers, Heron and Purifoy, each were 3-13 shooting the ball on Wednesday night. 

Worth Noting, Part 2: Harper hit 7-15 field goals, 3-6 threes, drew two offensive fouls and added a pair of assists in 32 minutes of action.

Worth Noting, Part 3: Bruce Pearl kept his team in the locker room for a postgame talk that was so lengthy he missed the Auburn Sports Network's postgame show.

Stat of the Game: Vandy has won 13 consecutive games vs. the Tigers dating back to 2007.

Up Next: The Tigers will return to Auburn Arena for a Saturday game vs. Ole Miss with a 5 p.m. CST start.

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