Vandy falls in SEC Tournament

Vanderbilt may not have gone into the SEC Tournament with much expectation of winning the whole thing, but it is safe to say that the streaking ‘Dores expected to be able to get past a Tennessee team they had beaten on the road by eight points just a couple of weeks ago.

The depressing part of this is that Vanderbilt really has no one to blame for the loss as the Commodores were leading by 12 points with under seven minutes to play before collapsing down the stretch to their arch rivals. You can blame it on being young all you like, but the intensity and the ability to close out a game was sadly lacking on Thursday night.

Two of the younger players on the team were once again the bright spots as sophomore Damian Jones and freshman Wade Baldwin each did their best to fill out the box score. Jones had a monster start to the game and finished with 20 points, 15 rebounds, and three blocks. Baldwin meanwhile had 15 points, five rebounds, and five assists in the losing effort.

A game of runs in the first half saw the Commodores leading 38-32 when half time finally arrived. From there Baldwin took the lead out to 12 points on his own before the momentum shifted yet again, putting together an 11-0 run of their own to make the score 47-45 with twelve minutes to play. The teams battled to 61-61 before a Robert Hubbs three-pointer gave the Vols the lead for good at 64-61. Three free throws later and the game was over with Tennessee emerging 67-61 victors.

The frustrating aspect of this game for ‘Dores fans was the inability of the team to make baskets late in the game. Jones cooled off after his monster start and despite their best efforts Vanderbilt could not find a way to get him going over the latter stages of the game. The ‘Dores also were unable to hit from long range and it seemed with neither of these strategies working the players were at a loss what to do.

Ideally the team will be granted an NIT berth, something which would monumentally improve this team for 2015-16 due to the postseason atmosphere and experience. This loss severely dents those chances though, so for now it looks like this basketball season has ended on something of a sour note.

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