"This is probably the best shooting team I've ever coached," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said.
Six Commodores scored in double figures, led by Corey Smith, who tallied a career-high 21 points. Dawid Przybyszewski recorded his second double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Mario Moore (16), Dan Cage (a career-high 14), Jason Holwerda (11) and Shan Foster (11) all cracked double-figures.
Foster, Cage and Przybyszewski all hit three three-pointers on the night.
"I'd like to think that's not a groove, I'd like to think that's just how we are," Cage said of the two-game stretch. "We have some great shooters out there. Shan's a great shooter. Red (Alex Gordon), Mario, myself, Corey, Dawid. All these guys have great range and can stretch the defense. And then people can slash in there. We make the defense keep guessing."
Cal State Northridge was guessing wrong from the outset as the Dores raced out to first-half leads of 15-2, 29-6 and 52-27 before going into intermission with a 54-30 lead. The Commodores were nearly flawless on offense, burning the Matadors with backdoor lay-ups and three-pointers with equal aplomb. Vanderbilt shot 69 percent in the first half, 57 percent from three against a team that was tied at Oklahoma with three minutes remaining.
"Our offense gives us good spacing," Stallings said. "We have enough quickness and strength where we can get the ball to places on the floor where we need it to break defenses down and get open shots. We're going to take what the defense gives us. Hopefully, as the season goes on, we'll get productivity from all places on the floor."
Stallings did not get great productivity from his subs in the latter part of the game. Vanderbilt enjoyed an 83-54 lead with 5:43 to play, but a 13-0 CS Northridge run forced Stallings to put his starters back in the game with 3:17 left.
"I thought we were going to be out for the rest of the game, so it was hard going back in," Smith said. "But all we had to do was take care of the ball. We didn't have to run a marathon or anything."
Stallings said Smith has probably been his best player in the last three weeks after he stressed to the senior he needed to be more consistent. With three solid efforts in three games, Smith appears to be there.
"Corey was fantastic tonight," Stallings said. "It is not a surprise."
The Commodores will finish off this tournament in Las Vegas on Friday and Saturday. VU will tipoff against Southern Illinois at 7 pm Central time Friday, while Saturday's game is still to be determined.
Cal State Northridge's Ian Boylan (11) falls to the court as Vanderbilt's Corey Smith (44) moves away. (AP /Mark Humphrey)