Tigers Can't Hang With Hot Shooting Vandy

Vanderbilt took control in the second half in the SEC basketball opener for both teams.

Nashville, Tenn.--Vanderbilt was hot from three-point range and turned the ball over just six times as the Commodores cruised to a 74-50 victory over Auburn in the SEC opener for both basketball teams.

The Commodores, who improved to 10-2 overall, hit 12-20 three-pointers and finished the game at Memorial Gym with 10 fewer turnovers than the Tigers, who dropped to 8-4.

Guards Frank Tolbert and Quantez Robertson led the Tigers in scoring with 12 points apiece. Another guard, Ronny LeMelle, added 11 for the Tigers.

Ronny LeMelle looks to score against Vandy's Dan Cage.

The Tigers led briefly at the start of the game, but were playing catch up the rest of the day. Vandy jumped to an 18-9 lead, but the Tigers had a 8-2 run to cut the margin to three at the 10:41 mark of the first half.

Leading 29-26, the Commodores scored seven of the final 10 points of the half to take a 36-29 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Auburn struggled with its shooting early in the second half while Vandy kept the pressure on the Tigers, building the lead to 51-37 with a three from the corner by Dan Cage at the 13:17 mark.

The Tigers were never able to make a strong run the rest of contest. "In the second half we just couldn't get anything going offensively," said Auburn coach Jeff Lebo, who added, "Give them credit. They are a good basketball team."

Auburn shot just 39.5 percent for the game, including just 36.8 percent in the second half when the Tigers were 3-12 on threes. For the game AU hit 39.1 percent from three-point range, making 9-23.

Jeff Lebo

"When things went downhill in the second half and we couldn't get anybody to stop the bleeding by making a bucket," Lebo said. "We don't have an inside game now."

Freshman inside players Korvotney Barber and Joey Cameron did not score as starters and Emanuel Willis was scoreless off the bench.

As a crowd of 12,479 watched, the Commodores shot 52.8 percent and outscored the Tigers in the paint by a 30-16 margin. Vandy also enjoyed a 17-6 edge in points off turnovers.

Shan Foster led all scorers with 20 points. The 6-6 sophomore guard hit 7-11 field goals, including 6-9 threes.

Julian Terrell, a 6-9 sophomore forward, scored 13 points and added five rebounds for the Commodores. Guard Derrick Byars added 10 points and five assists and forward DeMarre Carroll from John Carroll High in Birmingham came off the bench to score 10 points and lead his team in rebounds with six.

Quantez Robertson (23) works inside against Vandy's Ted Skuchas.

Neither team spent much time at the foul line. Auburn hit 7-10 tries while Vandy was 6-9.

The Tigers return to action on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. home game vs. Alabama.

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