Vanderbilt played without one star freshman, but two more picked up the slack in the Commodores’ 120-85 rout of Savannah State on Tuesday night at Nashville’s Memorial Gymnasium.
Freshman forward Simisola Shittu scored 17 and handed out five assists, while freshman guard Aaron Nesmith notched career highs in points (20) and rebounds (13).
Vandy (5-1) shot 62.7 from the field. It was the Commodores’ most points since Dec. 22, 1970.
Eight Commodores hit double figures, including forwards Yanni Wetzell (15), Joe Toye (13), Matt Ryan (11) and Matt Moyer (10) and guards Max Evans (16) and Saben Lee (11). It was a career high for Wetzell and Evans, and Moyer’s best total at VU.
Guards Collins Joseph (21), Jaquan Dotson (17), Jahlin Smith (11) and Zach Sellers (11) led the Tigers in scoring.
Vanderbilt led 101-63 after Wetzell hit a pair of foul shots with 8:42 remaining.
The Commodores led 35-24 when they got into the bonus with 7:19 left in the first half, which expanded to 37-24 after a pair of Nesmith foul shots.
That played to VU’s advantage, the Commodores hitting 13 of 17 from the line in the first half.
The lead hit 20 for the first time with 5:14 left in the period after Wetzell’s dunk on a fast break. The Commodores doubled up Savannah State, 62-31, on Wetzell 3 with 2:04 left in the half.
The lead was 65-37 at the break, with the Commodores out-shooting the Tigers, 62.2 percent to 38.9. Shittu and Ryan led all scorers with 11, while Wetzell had 10.
Savannah State, which had taken 361 3-pointers coming in, was 16 of 43 behind the arc, while Vandy was 15 of 30.
It was the Commodores’ first game without point guard Darius Garland.
Vanderbilt announced earlier in the day that Garland would miss the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery.
The former McDonald’s All-American, a potential lottery pick in the coming draft even with the injury to his left knee, had scored 33 points in VU’s win over Liberty on Nov. 19.
Garland was injured not quite two minutes in to the Commodores 77-75 loss to Kent State on Friday. He was later diagnosed with a meniscus injury. He had surgery in New York and was not on the bench on Tuesday.
—Field Level Media