Vanderbilt used a strong showing from behind the 3-point and foul lines in a 79-51 rout of Middle Tennessee State at Nashville’s Memorial Gymnasium on Wednesday evening.
The Commodores (6-2) shot 94.7 percent from the foul line, making 18 of 19. They shot 42.9 percent (9 of 12) from 3 in rolling to the win. Forwards Simisola Shittu and Matthew Moyer led scoring with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Guard Antonio Green (18 points) and forward Reggie Scurry (14) hit double digits for the Blue Raiders (3-6).
Foul shooting helped the Commodores to a 42-21 halftime lead. Vandy hit all 15 of its free-throw attempts in the opening half, while MTSU was 5 of 13. Green, MTSU’s leading scorer at 19.5 points per game coming in, was 1 of 7 for two points in the first half.
Forward Karl Gamble hit a lay-up to start the second half to get the Blue Raiders to within 19. But MTSU could get no closer. When guard Aaron Nesmith blocked a shot and went coast-to-coast for a layup, Vandy led 63-33 with 9:42 left.
Both teams stumbled out of the gate early, the Blue Raiders leading 3-2 at the first media time out.
But Vandy’s Moyer hit a 3 with the shot clock about to expire, then following a Scurry basket for MTSU, guard Saben Lee hit a 3 before Nesmith picked up an open-court steal and slam to put the Commodores up 10-5.
Following a Scurry free throw, the Blue Raiders could never get closer than six points in the first half.
A Nesmith step-back 3 at the 1:59 mark put the ‘Dores up 34-17. The lead grew to 19 when Moyer converted a three-point play following a tough lay-in on the right side.
Lee gave Vandy a 42-21 advantage with a contested lay-up at the halftime buzzer.
The Blue Raiders had a miserable offensive start, going 2 of 12 from the field and 2 of 8 from the line with six turnovers in the first 11 minutes.
MTSU guard Darnell Butler, a transfer from Seminole State Community College, was ruled eligible just before the game, but didn’t check in until 1:22 remained. He missed his only shot attempt.
—Field Level Media