3 Keys Revisited – Vanderbilt vs SDSU

In one of the most dominating offensive stretches put together by any team this college basketball season, Vandy blew the roof off of Memorial Gym and took one step closer to the NIT Finals in New York. The ‘Dores trailed 59-57 with 9:12 to play, but suddenly and emphatically Vanderbilt as a team hit a zone where literally nothing would miss.

Three after NBA range three hit nothing but net as the Commodores went on a scintillating 16-0 run to take a 73-59 lead and remove all doubt who was going to win the game. It was a breathtaking performance, buried away on the same day that the NCAA Tournament had few games with any drama.

Vandy will now face the winner of the Sunday night game between Stanford and Rhode Island in the NIT quarter finals. Before that though let’s have a look back at the three keys and see how the game was won.

1. Stop George Marshall - Pass

After watching George Marshall dominate in the Jacks first round clash with Colorado State it was obvious that Kevin Stallings would have a plan to stop the former Wisconsin guard. Marshall was harassed and harried during all of his 34 minutes on the court, hitting on just 3-10 shots and putting up just eight points.

Against the Rams Marshall had been able to spot up for three or drive the lane seemingly at will. In this game though the ‘Dores shot blockers came to play, setting a school record with a combined 13 blocks including four by Like Kornet alone. By altering so many shots from both driving guards and the Jacks bigs inside, Vanderbilt was able to dominate the way in which the game was played.

2. Strong perimeter defense - Push

After making 12 three pointers against Colorado State the ‘Dores knew that the Jackrabbits would be looking to get shots from downtown going early and often in Nashville. South Dakota State played did exactly that on Friday night, going 10-of-22 from behind the arc. The 45% shooting from three looks to be very impressive, but during the stretch where Vandy put the game away with their 16-0 run the Jacks could not get anything to fall.

One of the main reasons for this was that during the run the Vandy defenders fed off of the energy of the crowd. The result was that space for the perimeter jump shots was denied a split second earlier and that every three ball during this period was contested. With the length of the Vandy guards this presented a huge problem for SDSU who could not shoot accurately over the top of the challenge.

3. Feed Damian Jones - Pass

One of the most pleasing aspects of this game was that Vanderbilt scored 92 points and they didn’t have to rely on their big man to carry the scoring load. Jones was one of five ‘Dores who scored in double figures (15), a number that much more impressive as Riley LaChance was held to just six points due to foul trouble. James Siakam in particular stepped up in a big way as the senior went 4-of-6 from the field and 6-of-7 from the free throw line to contribute 14 points.

This was in many ways a game for the guards though and Wade Baldwin and Matthew Fisher-Davis had monster games. Baldwin poured in 20 points, to go along with 10 rebounds, while Fisher-Davis was just unconscious during the ‘Dores middle of the second half explosion hitting four straight 3-pointers to put the game beyond the Jacks.

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