Vanderbilt shot 59 percent from field goal range and hit 44 percent of their 3-point shots. However, the Commodores struggled from the free throw line, hitting just 22 of 32 shots (68 percent). Northern State out rebounded Vanderbilt 44-30 and had an impressive 22 offensive boards to Vandy's 7.
Despite the close call, Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings attributed the near upset to first game jitters; "One of the things that really surprised me tonight was that some of our guys were a little bit tighter than I expected that they might be. Then I realized that we had four guys out there tonight who had never worn a Vanderbilt uniform before so I guess it is really not all that surprising.," said Stallings.
Newcomer report: Red shirt freshman guard George Drake had a super debut, scoring 17 points while hitting 7 of 8 from field in 19 minutes. Drake also had 5 rebounds. Fellow freshman guard Jermaine Beal had 6 points, 5 assists and a rebound. JeJuan Brown had 6 points, 2 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. LSU transfer Ross Neltner contributed 8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 5 turnovers.
Vanderbilt hosts 23rd ranked Georgetown in the regular season opener on Wednesday, November 15.
VandyMania's guest expert says:
Don Meyer's small but scrappy team overcame a twenty-five-point deficit, cutting it to three, before losing by a final margin of four points. George Drake, a red-shirt freshman from Calera, Ala. came off the bench to lead all Vandy scorers with seventeen points.
Vandy's offense was the highlight of their performance, especially in the first half. The defense lacked intensity and cohesiveness throughout the game. Their opponent scored far too many points in the paint.
Other double-digit scorers for the Commodores were: Gordon with eleven, Foster with fifteen, Byars with thirteen and Metcalfe with ten.
In two weeks on November 15th, the Georgetown Hoyas will be here for a tough intersectional game. They are ranked in the top Twenty in all the polls.
To summarize, I realize this was a Division II team and a larger margin of victory could have been expected. Just remember, this was the first game, and only an exhibition. Any assessment I have to offer of this 2006-07 team will not come until several games have been played.