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LSU 90, Vanderbilt 82

LSU 90, Vanderbilt 82

Vanderbilt and its fans learned that LSU forward Ben Simmons is the real deal as the Tigers freshman poured in 36 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in leading his team to a 90-82 upset over the Commodores at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday.

Whether Vanderbilt was in zone or man-to-man, LSU got the ball to its superstar and let him work. The Australian scored virtually all his points from the foul line (16-of-19) or from point-blank range underneath.

The Tigers took an early second-half lead and was up one after guard Wade Baldwin’s 3-pointer, but LSU guard Keith Hornsby (23 points) answered with a 3 from the left side to give the Tigers a 53-51 edge they never relinquished.

LSU took a nine-point lead with 9:15 left after Simmons hit one of two foul shots for his 30th point. Vanderbilt never got closer than four after that.

Simmons didn’t get going until he hit a lay-up for his first points with 12:38 left in the first half, but from that point on, LSU’s offensive became almost exclusively getting him the ball.

The Commodores had their troubles guarding him with starting center Damian Jones (12 points) picking up two first-half fouls and starting power forward Jeff Roberson whistled for three in the game’s first 14:41.

Still, Vanderbilt led 35-34 at the half thanks to hitting all 13 of its foul shots.

All five Vanderbilt starters scored in double figures, led by Baldwin’s 17.

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