Vanderbilt rallies past UNC-Asheville
Led by an unlikely hero in center Djery Baptiste, Vanderbilt overcame a 10-point deficit to knock off North Carolina-Asheville 79-76 in Nashville’s Memorial Gymnasium on Friday evening.
Baptiste posted career highs in points (13) and rebounds (eight), as the Commodores improved to 2-1.
Guards Matthew Fisher-Davis and Riley LaChance and forward Jeff Roberson led VU with 17 points each. Roberson added a game-high 12 rebounds.
Forward Alec Wnuk (18) and guard MaCio Teague (18) led UNCA.
After trailing by two at half, Vanderbilt ran off 11 straight points to start the second period. Fisher-Davis started the half with a layup and a 3, while LaChance followed with a pair of 3s.
That put the Commodore lead at nine. But the Bulldogs hung around, and even as the Commodores hit foul shots late — Baptiste buried both ends of a one-and-one with 38.1 left, Fisher-Davis was 4-for-4 in the final 19.4, and LaChance was 1-of-2 — Asheville (1-2) kept hitting shots.
Teague hit a layup with 7.7 seconds left, and after Fisher-Davis hit a pair of free throws, the sophomore hit a leaning 3 from the top of the key with 2.4 left.
LaChance missed the first foul shot and hit the second, then, Teague was close with a 60-foot-attempt to tie as the buzzer sounded.
UNC-Asheville ran off to an early 20-10 lead after Wnuk bounced in a layup.
But the cold-shooting Commodores bounced back and tied the game late in the half on a dunk from center Baptiste inside the final minute. But Jonathan Baehre hit a jumper from the right baseline at the buzzer as the Bulldogs took a 37-35 halftime lead.