Virginia pounds Vanderbilt to stay unbeaten
Virginia forced Vanderbilt to work nearly eight minutes to get its first basket and cruised to a 68-42 victory over the Commodores on Thursday during NIT Tip-Off semifinal action in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Sophomore guards Kyle Guy (18 points) and Ty Jerome (14 points) each shot 4 of 7 from 3-point range at Barclays Center to lead Virginia (5-0). Sophomore forward Mamadi Diakite added 12 points off the bench for the stingy Cavaliers, who entered the game surrendering just 54.2 points per game.
Virginia awaits the winner of Thursday’s other semifinal between Rhode Island (2-1) and Seton Hall (4-0). The championship game is slated for 7:30 p.m. EST on Friday with the third-place game at 9:45.
Senior swingman Matthew Fisher-Davis managed 11 points to pace Vanderbilt (2-3), which shot just 23.1 percent from the field and was just 4-of-18 on 3-point attempts.
The Cavaliers forced seven missed shots and three turnovers before Vanderbilt sophomore center Djery Baptiste canned a short jumper with 12:15 left in the first half to pull the Commodores within 15-3. Virginia’s stout man-to-man defense didn’t allow Vanderbilt to crack double digits until Fisher-Davis hit a 3-pointer with 3:32 left in the half to make it 30-11.
Virginia built its biggest advantage with 8:45 to play when senior forward Isaiah Wilkins’ transition layup off a feed by senior transfer Nigel Johnson gave the Cavaliers a 64-25 lead.
Vanderbilt’s previous low during Bryce Drew’s tenure was 48 points on Dec. 8, 2016, in a 23-point loss at Middle Tennessee State. The Commodores hadn’t scored so few points since a 76-38 whipping on March 1, 2014, at Tennessee.