The Commodores won comfortably but allowed suspense to creep into the game more often than coach Kevin Stallings would have preferred.
"There was some good, there was some bad and there was some ugly," he said. "If you had asked me what I expected before the game, I would have told you some good, some bad and some ugly."
Nonetheless, Vandy shot 58.9 percent from the floor and placed five players in double-figure scoring, led by 17 from sophomore swingman Shan Foster.
"Given where we were at personnel-wise, I thought things were pretty solid," Stallings said.
The Commodores by as many as 21 points in the second half, but the scrappy Wolves, coached by former Lipscomb University coach Don Meyer, cut the deficit to 10 with 1:59 remaining.
Although Vanderbilt preserved the win, Stallings was not pleased that Northern State shot 54.8 in the second half and swished 11 of 19 3-pointers for the game.
"Defensively, we've got a lot of work to do," Stallings said. "I'm a little disappointed at that but not completely surprised. They made us look bad on defense."
Moore was suspended for what Stallings termed a violation of team rules. Gordon started at point guard and was backed up by Byars, who played four positions in his first action at Memorial Gym after transferring from Virginia.
Moore will return for Vandy's Nov. 22 home game against UNC-Greensboro. Terrell, meanwhile, is expected to be available for the regular-season opener Nov. 18 against Jacksonville State.
Not having Moore and Terrell available against Northern State forced Stallings to use unusual lineups.
"It's difficult because you play with them in practice," Skuchas said. "It throws off your chemistry a little bit, but we've played with each other for two years for some of us and three for some of us. It's just trying to figure out what you need to do to overcome those obstacles and go out and win the ballgame."