Vanderbilt basketball snaps five-game winning streak, tournament hopes with loss to LSU

Vanderbilt basketball snaps five-game winning streak, tournament hopes with loss to LSU

Vanderbilt basketball had won five games in a row. LSU had lost 13 in a row with just one SEC win coming into Wednesday.

But that didn’t matter. The Commodores were able to score but couldn’t defend the Tigers in an 84-77 loss in Baton Rouge, one that likely ended all hopes of the NCAA Tournament for the Commodores (15-13, 8-7 SEC).

LSU’s KJ Williams had a monster of a game with 35 points and 10 rebounds as the Commodores simply could not stop him Adam Miller also scored in double digits, and while no one else from LSU (13-15, 2-13) got to 10, nearly every player who appeared in the game scored.

“Obviously, it’s a disappointing loss for us,” coach Jerry Stackhouse said. “We knew that this was a dangerous team coming in. … Adam Miller was the guy that we talked about. You had a great game from him but KJ Williams was special for them tonight.”

Vanderbilt missed nine free throws in total, with six of those misses coming from Liam Robbins. Robbins attempted 15 of the team’s 23 free throws.

“We just got to pick ourselves up, got to find a way to finish out strong,” Stackhouse said. “I think we need to win out. … The message is still to try to win out hopefully we get a run in the SEC Tournament. We can have a good run there.”

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Poor start

Vanderbilt couldn’t find a groove in the first half, conceding a 13-0 run to LSU as Ezra Manjon sat out the majority of the half with two fouls. The Commodores struggled to find offense and got outrebounded by eight in the half.

In the midst of LSU’s run, Tyrin Lawrence was called for a flagrant foul that allowed the Tigers to extend their lead.

Vanderbilt was briefly able to retake the lead in the second half but couldn’t close out.

“That first half, it really kind of set the tone for the night,” Stackhouse said. ” … We didn’t get the stop that we needed in the second half, and that that was a difference in the game.”

Block party

Robbins affected the game on both ends, setting a new career high in blocks, also tying the highest number of blocks by a Division I men’s player this season with nine. Though Robbins was relatively inefficient, he also led the team in scoring with 23 points while adding on 11 rebounds.

But Robbins also picked up his fourth foul with 7:32 left in the second half and had four turnovers.

Bench struggles

Vanderbilt got little production out of its bench despite big days from Robbins, Lawrence and Trey Thomas. Almost all of the team’s bench points were scored by Jordan Wright, though Wright also did work on the boards.

Freshman Colin Smith provided a spark late in the game with three 3-pointers and 11 total points along with three rebounds.

But no one else who came off the bench scored. Myles Stute also scored zero points.