After trading leads throughout regulation time, Vanderbilt (8-5) fell in overtime fashion to a resilient Southern Methodist University basketball team on Saturday night by the score of 92-81.
Inexperience and inconsistent shooting hurt Vandy down the stretch. Vanderbilt held a 72-60 lead with just over six minutes to play before a five-minute scoring drought that kept the Mustangs in the ball game.
Vanderbilt finally ended the rough stretch with a bucket from Ejike Obinna with 1:22 left to play. However, by that time in the game SMU had whittled the Vanderbilt lead down to 74-67.
Vanderbilt clung to a 77-71 lead with just 36 seconds to play after Aaron Nesmith knocked down a pair of free throws.
SMU (11-2) countered with a Tyson Jolly triple to trim the lead to just three points. Saben Lee turned the ball over just two seconds later and SMU would run right back down the court where they secured a clutch offensive rebound and a kick out to Isiaha Mike for a game-tying three-pointer with just 19 seconds left to send it to overtime.
In the overtime period SMU went a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor and would go on to secure a miraculous come from behind victory on the road.
Nesmith’s Big Night
Aaron Nesmith was a man possessed Saturday night as he finished with 29 points. The sophomore did most of his damage from beyond the arc, connecting on a career high 8-of-13 from deep.
Scottie Pippen Jr. showed flashes of offensive ability, dropping 15 points with a team high six assists. Dylan Disu contributed nine points and Maxwell Evans chipped in eight. Saben Lee had an atypical performance, only scoring seven points on 3-of-8 shooting.
— Vanderbilt Men's Basketball (@VandyMBB) January 5, 2020
Size Does Matter
Vanderbilt was at a disadvantage from the opening tip in the size category. SMU rolled out three starters that checked in at 6-foot-8 or taller.
With Clevon Brown still out due to a knee injury, the interior of Vandy’s defense has prone to getting outrebounded and outscored in the paint.
Unfortunately for the Commodores, this was the reason for their demise as SMU handled Vanderbilt on the glass by winning the rebound battle 41-29. In fact, two of the big men for the Mustangs, Ethan Chargois and Feron Hunt, finished with double doubles.
SMU took it to Vandy down low outscoring the ‘Dores by a 44-20 margin with Chargois and Hunt combining for 30 points and 22 rebounds in total.
The loss to SMU concludes the nonconference portion of Vanderbilt’s schedule. Vandy will shift its attention to its toughest test to date with a road matchup against No. 8 Auburn looming on Wednesday night.