Vanderbilt basketball got another last-second win, this one over Auburn after a back-and-forth second half on Saturday at Memorial Gymnasium.
Liam Robbins gave Vanderbilt the lead from the foul line with a minute to go and KJ Johnson tied the game back up at 65 with 10 seconds left. Ezra Manjon hit the game-winning layup with less than a second to go to secure the 67-65 win.
“It’s not like we were down, but we have been down before and came back and made the big plays,” Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse said. “Tonight was probably a little less pressure because worst-case scenario we go to overtime. It’s basketball: KJ stepped up and made a great shot over what I felt was a great defense. … At the end of the day we made the plays.”
The Commodores (15-12, 8-6 SEC) are on a five-game winning streak and now sit as the fifth seed in the conference standings.
The Commodores used a 10-0 run in the early portion of the first half to secure a lead they would take into the half. Vanderbilt hit 30% of its shots from the field but 45% from 3-point range en route to a four-point lead at the half. Auburn (18-9, 8-6) surged in the second half, extending to its largest lead in the middle of the half before trading the lead with Vanderbilt down the stretch.
Early run for the Commodores
The Commodores trailed early in the first quarter but went on their 10-0 run while holding the Tigers to 0-for-7 from the field. Myles Stute had six quick points to lead Vanderbilt in the first 10 minutes. It was a strong start from deep, going 4-of-8 from 3-point range and only making one two-point shot in the first half.
Auburn was able to cut into the deficit at the foul line as both teams struggled on offense, going two minutes with a score after Vanderbilt took a nine-point lead in the first half.
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Liam Robbins struggles from field, shines from the line
Robbins continued a stretch of scoring more than 20 points for the third straight game, but he struggled from the field. Robbins went 3-of-10 from the floor and 1-of-2 from deep but went 17-of-20 from the free-throw line. It was the first time he had made more than 12 free throws all season and his most attempts all year.
Robbins finished with 24 points and added 12 rebounds and an assist, a block and a steal.
Commodores struggle on defense in second half
After holding Auburn to 36% shooting from the field before intermission, the Commodores allowed the Tigers to shoot 50% from the field, including 44% from deep in the second half. Auburn’s Johni Broome scored 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting in the second half to finish with 20 points.
The Commodores held Auburn to 3-of-8 shooting down the stretch to escape with the win.
Vanderbilt travles to LSU on Wednesday (6 p.m. CT, SEC Network).