The result was a 92-83 loss to Cincinnati that snapped Vanderbilt's 28-game non-conference home winning streak and five-game winning streak to start the season. It also snapped coach Kevin Stallings' patience.
"They got control of the game early on and we made some ridiculously bad turnovers," Stallings said. "We were just on our heels. To win a game like this, you need to be in a position to dictate, and they were dictating to us all day."
Later, he referred to his team's "bad turnovers and undisciplined play," and then said, "We had too many of our important parts not on go today."
But it was the starting trio of Mario Moore, Shan Foster and Ted Skuchas that were not able to match Cincinnati on this day. Moore responded to his first start with five points, Foster scored seven (none in the second half) and Skuchas had five turnovers in nine minutes.
We had some guys that were pretty shaky with the ball," Stallings said.
Vanderbilt committed a season-high 17 turnovers overall and surrendered several layups to the quick Cincinnati guards. Devan Downey, all 5-10 of him, scored 18 points for the Bearcats and had four steals. James White also dropped in 18 points, some of the spectacular variety.
Vanderbilt trailed 49-33 late in the first half, but scored eight points in the final 50 seconds to head to halftime down 49-41. Cincinnati built the lead out to 63-46 early in the second half and the lead never dipped below 10 until the final minute.
"I don't think I saw as much intensity as we should have played with," Byers said. "I don't know why. We had one team to focus for in 11 days. We should have been prepared to play with as much intensity as we needed."
Cincinnati was clearly the more athletic team, but Stallings pointed out VU has faced plenty of athletic teams before.
"Just ridiculous turnovers," he said. "We throw it to them and they lay it in the basket. Cincinnati has an athletic team, but that doesn't mean you have to just throw the ball to them."
Vanderbilt shot the ball reasonably well (43 percent, 50 percent from three) and got to the foul line (34 attempts), but turnovers turned out to be the defining stat of the game.
"It was totally uncharacteristic of us," Byers said. "You usually don't see those type of turnovers from our veterans."
"We were 3-2 and facing 3-3," said forward Eric Hicks, who had 13 points and eight rebounds. "I wouldn't be able to show my face back home being 3-3, especially with the Bengals doing as well as they are."
Julian Terrell, despite playing with a sore foot, had 11 points and 14 rebounds, though he was 1-for-8 from the floor.
"I'm upset we lost," he said. "But there are plenty of games to go."
Vanderbilt's Julian Terrell (33) pulls down a rebound in front of Cincinnati's Eric Hicks (14) during the first half in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, Dec.10, 2005.(AP Photo/John Russell)