EditorsNote: 8th graf, changes timeframe for walk-on’s 3-pointer
Vanderbilt guard Aaron Nesmith tied a career high with 34 points and the host Commodores snapped a two-game losing streak with an 88-73 win over UNC Wilmington in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday night.
Nesmith had six rebounds and hit seven 7 of 10 3-pointers in a game-high 36 minutes. Guard Saben Lee added 14 points and six assists for Vanderbilt (7-4).
Guards Jaylen Sims (19 points), Mike Okauru (12), Kai Toews (11) and Brian Tolefree (10) led UNC Wilmington (5-8) in scoring.
The Seahawks shot well from the field (49 percent), from 3-point range (60 percent) and from the line (84.6 percent), but were done in by 23 turnovers.
Nesmith had 20 points in the first half. His first second-half points, coming on a step-back 3 with 16:35 to play, gave Vanderbilt its biggest lead (49-35) to that point.
Guard Max Evans’ lay-up with 6:46 left put the Commodores up at least 20 for the first time at 72-51.
Sims hit back-to-back 3-pointers, the second coming with 2:23 left, as part of a Seahawks’ 11-0 to cut the deficit to 78-67, but Wilmington never got within single digits.
Walk-on guard Braelee Albert, who joined the Commodores this week, nailed a 3-pointer just 2:01 into his collegiate action in the first half. That made it 16-13 and put Vanderbilt up for good.
Nesmith hit a contested 3-pointer from the right side for his 15th first-half point, then an Evans dunk after a Wilmington turnover gave Vanderbilt a 12-point lead with 4:25 left in the half.
Sims hit a 3 at the halftime buzzer to trim Vanderbilt’s lead to 42-32.
The Seahawks hit 47.6 percent of their first-half shots, but were hurt by a dozen turnovers.
The Commodores were without their top two centers, Clevon Brown and Ejike Obinna, due to injury on Saturday. That left them with just eight available scholarship players, and they started a four-guard lineup and forward Dylan Disu as a result.
The Seahawks lost their fifth straight game.
—Field Level Media