Vanderbilt guard Riley LaChance scored 26 points, including four big free throws down the stretch, as the Commodores hung on to beat LSU, 77-71, at Memorial Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.
LSU center Duop Reath had a career-high 31 for the Tigers (11-7, 2-4 Southeastern Conference).
Vanderbilt (7-12, 2-5) which also got 20 from forward Jeff Roberson and 12 from guard Saben Lee, snapped a four-game losing streak.
Lee helped a Commodore defense that held LSU freshman guard Tremont Waters to seven points on 3-of-12 shooting. Waters averaged 16.3 coming in.
Vandy’s Roberson took over to start the second half, scoring VU’s first nine points in a span of 2:14. LaChance then buried a deep 3 for a 46-30 lead, VU’s largest of the game to that point.
That’s when LSU sprung a full-court press on Vandy, and things started to come apart.
After Tigers guard Brandon Sampson hit a free throw, LSU stole the ball deep in the Vandy backcourt on the next two possessions, with Sampson getting a quick dunk and forward Wayde Sims slamming home a Sampson miss on the second.
LSU finally took its first lead of the game at 65-64 with 2:20 left when Reath hit a lay-up off a feed., but that would be the Tigers’ only lead. LaChance hit a pair of free throws to put Vandy up one, then fed Lee for a dunk with 1:40 left.
Moments later, after LSU guard Brandon Rachal answered with a field goal, Lee hit a driving lay-up over Reath, though he missed the ensuing free throw.
Vanderbilt led 34-28 at halftime behind 15 from LaChance, who was 6 of 10 from the floor in the first half. LSU’s Reath had 13 on a 5 of 8 showing from the field.
Vandy, which shot 51.9 percent in the first half, led from the outset. Its biggest first-half advantage was at 24-15, when Roberson took an inbounds pass and hit a tough lay-up in traffic at the 6:51 mark.
The Commodores, a 73.1 percent foul shooting team coming in, missed a chance to expand the lead due to going 1-of-5 from the line in the first half.
LSU’s first foul of the first half came at the 8:28 mark. The Tigers were whistled for five more in the next 1:32.