Auburn shot just 34.7 percent from the field, but it was good enough for a 64-53 road win at Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday afternoon.
Guard Jared Harper had 16 points and eight assists for Auburn (17-8, 6-6 Southeastern Conference). Guard Malik Dunbar and forward Chuma Okeke each scored 13, and guard Bryce Brown chipped in 14.
Vanderbilt guard Aaron Nesmith had game highs in points (24) and rebounds (14), while forward Yanni Wetzell had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Commodores (9-16, 0-12).
Fans hoping for offensive brilliance left bitterly disappointed.
Vanderbilt slowed the tempo and created an ugly, grind-it-out half-court game. The Commodores turned it over 16 times and had just 16 field goals.
Harper hit back-to-back 3-pointerss, prompting a Vanderbilt timeout as the Tigers took their biggest lead (40-31) of the game with 12:59 remaining.
About two minutes later, Harper stepped around a screen and drained a long 2-pointer to put Auburn up 43-33.
Vanderbilt closed within four late, but a Dunbar 3-pointer from the left corner with 1:33 left put the game out of reach.
Auburn, despite hitting 25 percent from the field, had a 27-23 halftime lead thanks to making 84.6 percent of its 13 free throws. The Tigers had one 2-point basket in their half-court offense.
The Tigers led 11-8 eight minutes into the first half despite hitting just 3 of 15 from the field to that point.
Nesmith was the only bright spot for either team early.
The freshman threw in a 3-pointer from the left side with 7:24 left, giving Vanderbilt its first lead. That was his 10th point, with no one else on either side having more than three at that juncture.
Vanderbilt starting forward Simi Shittu picked up his third foul with 5:08 left before half, and fouled out with 8:35 to play.
—Field Level Media