Playing their fourth in-state program of the season, Vanderbilt had to fight from behind to take the victory away from a veteran and tough Chattanooga squad 76-74. Led in scoring by Luke Kornet and Matthew Fisher-Davis with 18 points a piece, Kornet's clutch play down the stretch and his three point field goal with 2.9 seconds remaining, gave the Commodores their 6th win of the season and probably Coach Drew's best victory of his short Vanderbilt career.
The Mocs of Chattanooga are a bunch of gritty, athletic, tough players who earned a 12 seed in last years NCAA Tournament and came into Nashville hungry for a win. Most of the night, UTC played like the veteran team and made tough shot after shot but in the end, Vanderbilt made just one more and won the game.
Vanderbilt came into tonight's game coming off a butt kicking to MTSU nine days ago. It was a nice long break for the Dores where they were able to finish their final exams and hit the court for some much needed practice time. Tonight that layoff might of helped as Vanderbilt played more together and played tough in key moments of the game. The Dores only had 11 turnovers which is less than they have had over the first 10 games.
Defense was the main issue throughout the night as Mocs guard Greg Pryor (12 pts, 5 asst) and forward Tre McLean slashed their way to easy buckets. Along with poor on the ball defense, Vanderbilt was pounded in the paint by Chattanooga 44-26. Senior forward Justin Tuoyo and senior forward Casey Jones (16 pts, 3 reb) dominated inside the paint and on the glass. Tuoyo (14 pts) led everyone in rebounding with 9 with 7 being offensive boards. The Mocs starting five was a handful for Vanderbilt and with poor 3 point shooting and being dominated in the paint being problems, you would of thought another loss would happen for the Dores.
Losing was not an option tonight as veteran players like Kornet, Fisher-Davis and Riley LaChance, who hit a big three that tied the game at 68 a piece, showed up on Saturday night and willed their team to victory.
Vanderbilt improved their record Saturday to 6-5 and will be back on the court this Wednesday on the road against another tough foe in the Dayton Flyers (6 pm Central tipoff)..
Chattanooga fell to 8-3 but tonight won't be the last time you hear from the Mocs. Look for UTC to be a favorite in the SoCon and find themselves back in the NCAA Tournament again this year.
Player of the Game
18 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 assists, 2 steals, 3-6 from 3-pt
Honorable Mention: Soph G/F Joe Toye - 10 pts, 2 rds, 2 asst
News & Notes
- Chattanooga was 10 seconds away from achieving their first win over Vanderbilt since 1937
- The free throw line was huge was Vanderbilt. The Dores went 26-29 from the charity stripe
- Thus far on the season, Vanderbilt's win over Chattanooga is the Dores best win on the year
- Matthew Fisher-Davis went a combined 9-9 from the free throw line
- Vanderbilt is 14-3 all time against Chattanooga