Vanderbilt bombs TSU, 87-65

Mario Moore exploded for 19 points and Jason Holwerda added a career-high 17, as Vanderbilt racked up an easy 87-65 win Sunday over nearby Tennessee State. The Commodores dropped in 14 three-pointers in the process of improving to 2-0. VandyMania's <B>Bill Trocchi</b> provides this account.

NASHVILLE-- If the NCAA wants to know what Vanderbilt thinks of its experimental three-point line distance of 20-feet, 6-inches, the Commodores would give it a rousing two thumbs up. Vanderbilt bombed in 14 three-pointers against Tennessee State on Sunday night at Memorial Gym en route to a solid 87-65 victory over its Nashville neighbors. Mario Moore led all scorers with 19 points and Jason Holwerda matched a career-high with 17, including 15 in the first half.

"I am happy to see (Holwerda) break out and hit shots," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. "He also played really well on defense. If he starts jumping and hitting consistent shots, it's going to make us a harder team to defend."

Holwerda said he wants to take charge this year as captain, and he showed it by being more aggressive at the offensive end and knocking down three of the four three-pointers he attempted.

"Coach has said it is your senior year, and after three sub par years I need to just go out and have fun," Holwerda said. "My teammates are looking to me. I tried to push the issue a little bit and it helped us out."

The win was the first of the four-game Las Vegas Invitational, which will continue Tuesday night at Memorial Gym against Cal State-Northridge. The tournament will conclude Nov. 26-27 in Las Vegas with two more games.

Vanderbilt opened a tight game by closing the first half with a 10-2 burst to take a 43-27 lead. Holwerda and Dawid Przybyszewski hit three-pointers during the run and Moore closed the first half with a driving lay up just before the buzzer. Julian Terrell also had a monster follow-slam of a Moore three-point miss during the run.

"Basketball is a game of spurts," Moore said. " We felt if we pushed it right there we would break them."

Vanderbilt was in control throughout the second half, with its largest lead coming at 82-57 with under four minutes to play. Alan Metcalfe (five points, two assists) earned special praise from Stallings.

Stallings was unhappy with one number on the box score – 16. That was the total offensive rebounds surrendered to Tennessee State. Przybyszewski came back to earth after his 16-rebound effort against Toledo with four in 24 minutes and the Commodores were outrebounded overall, 34-25.

"We knew that they could rebound and we just didn't do it," Moore said. "I'm pretty sure we'll be running into each other like madmen tomorrow getting rebounds trying to get that rectified."

At the other end of the floor, there were hardly any opportunities for the Commodores to grab many offensive rebounds as they shot 54 percent from the floor and 50 percent from three. It was a crisp offensive effort, one in which all 11 players not only scored but recorded an assist.

Tennessee State (0-2) is a much-improved team from the one Vanderbilt thrashed 85-64 last season. Cincinnati transfer Rod Flowers had 18 points and seven rebounds for the Tigers.

TSU bothered Vanderbilt somewhat in the first half with a press, but Stallings said after the game he did not prepare his team properly to attack it.

"Once we made an adjustment, they took it off and we had no problem with it," he said. "It was just a poor job on my part."

Still, after two games, Vanderbilt has to be pleased. The Commodores have yet to trail in 80 minutes of game action against two teams thought to be in contention for their respective league titles.

"I don't think we had quite the intensity we had against Toledo," Stallings said. "But nonetheless, the effort was reasonable."

Bill Trocchi is the online editor for Anthlon Sports.


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