Vanderbilt was tested in three straight losses to ranked teams during a five-day stretch and looks to gain a bit of confidence back when it entertains Radford of the Big South Conference on Tuesday night. The Commodores dropped a 93-89 overtime decision to USC before suffering setbacks against Seton Hall and Virginia in the NIT Season Tip-Off at Brooklyn, N.Y. last week.
“I think the biggest thing is that we didn’t make shots, we were 0-for-12 from three in the second half,” Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew told reporters after losing 72-59 to Seton Hall on Friday. “If I could go back and write that over, I would take those shots all day.” The Commodores are shooting 39.5 percent from the field overall and, aside from talented long-range shooter Riley LaChance, are connecting on 25.5 percent from behind the arc in the first six contests. Senior guard Matthew Fisher-Davis leads the team in scoring (13.8), but is shooting 34.5 percent from the field overall and his accuracy from 3-point range has been far below his career average in the early going. Radford has a win over East Carolina, along with losses against Ohio State and Elon, during its first five contests and is averaging more than 10 makes from 3-point range.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, SEC Network
ABOUT RADFORD (3-2): Freshman guard Carlik Jones has led a well-balanced offense with 12.8 points per game while shooting 54.1 percent from the field and draining 9-of-17 from 3-point range. Junior forward Ed Polite Jr. - who hit the winning basket against James Madison with five seconds left Saturday - is also averaging 12 points and leads the team in rebounding (6.6) and blocks (1.8) at 6-5. The Highlanders are connecting on 37.5 percent from behind the 3-point arc and sophomore guard Donald Hicks (11.2 points per game) is the top marksman with 12 makes in 26 attempts.
ABOUT VANDERBILT (2-4): The Commodores are in a bit of a transition season, but three seniors lead them in scoring through the first six contests. Forward Jeff Roberson is second behind Fisher-Davis in points per game (13.2) while topping the team in rebounds (9.3) and LaChance is scoring 10.8 per contest - draining 14 of his 30 attempts from long range. Vanderbilt needs more contributions from its underclassmen as the season goes on and the best prospect may be freshman guard Saben Lee, who averages 7.2 points but is shooting 33.3 percent from the field.
1. Vanderbilt’s 6-10 sophomore C Djery Baptiste is 9-of-13 from the field after shooting 52.1 percent as a freshman.
2. Radford will play eight of its first 11 games on the road and is 1-2 away from home in the early going.
3. The Commodores are last in the SEC in field goal percentage and fifth from the free-throw line (73.6) entering Monday.
PREDICTION: Vanderbilt 74, Radford 62