After leading by as many as 10 points in the second half of Monday's game, the No. 20 Vanderbilt Commodores fell to the twelfth-ranked visiting Xavier Musketeers, 82-70, in overtime.
Just under five minutes into the second half, reserves Dai-Jon Parker, Kyle Fuller and Josh Henderson substituted into the game for seniors Steve Tchiengang, Brad Tinsley and Jeff Taylor. Rod Odom entered the game for Lance Goulbourne three minutes later. The less-experienced reserves saw the double-digit lead turn into a 52-51 deficit by the second media timeout of the half with just under 12 minutes remaining in regulation.
"That was a really disappointing game to lose. We had it under control in the second half, had a few of our reserves in, and they gave the lead away quickly," said Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings. "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."
John Jenkins led Vanderbilt in scoring with 20 points alongside a season-high seven rebounds and 41 minutes. After a three-pointer from Jenkins to give Vanderbilt a 66-62 lead with four minutes remaining in regulation, the Commodores failed to score in the final minutes of the second half and entered overtime tied at 66.
"We called a couple plays to get people's spots that they're comfortable with," said Goulbourne on the final minutes of the second half. "But the shots didn't fall or we didn't get the break that we needed. It was unfortunate, sometimes the shots aren't going to fall."
Goulbourne finished the game with 18 points, matching a career high he set as a sophomore against LSU.
Xavier's Tu Holloway led all scorers with 24 points despite scoring only three points in the first half. Holloway finished Monday's game with three three-pointers and sinking nine free throws. Ten of Holloway's points came in overtime, including three-pointers on consecutive possessions to stretch the Musketeer lead to eight.
"The second half is a different urgency," Holloway said. "That's the last chance, it's the last chance to go out there and do whatever you can because you don't want to get back on that plane tonight with that sick feeling knowing that you lost."
Monday's game also marked forward Andre Walker's return to Memorial Gymnasium as a starter for Xavier. Walker started for the Commodores a year ago before transferring to Xavier after last season. He led all rebounders with 14.
"It obviously had a huge impact to be the lead rebounder. He was steady on the floor and was able to guard [Steve] Tchiengang," said Xavier coach Chris Mack. "He has best friends on the Vanderbilt team. It had to be awkward for him to come in here and play… He had to come in and play guys he was teammates with five months ago."
Walker led the Musketeers to a 54-33 rebounding advantage. Xavier's 25 offensive rebounds led to 15 second-chance points. Additionally, Xavier managed 22 points by capitalizing on 18 Vanderbilt turnovers.
Vanderbilt faces another tough non-conference test this weekend when traveling to face the No. 6 Louisville Cardinals on Friday.
Vanderbilt Falls in Overtime, 82-70
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