The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Vanderbilt overcomes slow start, rolls past Mississippi Valley State 84-41

After a 16-day, COVID-19 induced hiatus, Vanderbilt men’s basketball picked up a lopsided win over the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils.
Scotty Pippen Jr. throws a pass in Vanderbilt’s 84-41 win over Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 13, 2020. (Hustler Multimedia/Truman McDaniel)

It certainly wasn’t the start they envisioned, but Vanderbilt men’s basketball on Sunday notched their second win nevertheless.

“It was weird,” sophomore guard Dylan Disu said of his team’s extended break. “[Mississippi Valley State had] played six games, but we only played one [before today.] And then we had two weeks off.”

Following a multi-week hiatus due to COVID-19, Vanderbilt hosted the winless Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils in what was the Commodores’ first game since Nov. 27 and just their second all season. Powered by a 17-point, 13-rebound performance by Dylan Disu and a 14-point, four-rebound, four-assist by Tyrin Lawrence, Vanderbilt prevailed by a final score of 84-41.

“After last game, I talked to Coach Stack and the coaching staff and they said I was a little passive with my shooting,” Disu said, after nailing five of nine three-point attempts in Vanderbilt’s return to action Sunday. “They just told me to be more aggressive.”

For quite some time, though, the Commodores—perhaps shaking off some rust from their 16 days without a live game—weren’t very aggressive on the offensive side of the ball. They struggled to string together a coherent possession.

“It just took some time to get into a rhythm and figure out who we are as a team,” Disu said.

Their starting lineup consisted of a smaller group than normal, with three guards—Lawrence, Scotty Pippen Jr. and Maxwell Evans—and two forwards in Disu and Quentin Millora-Brown. Stackhouse was forced to adjust his lineup as a result of multiple absences in Jordan Wright, DJ Harvey, Myles Stute and Clevon Brown.

Luckily for Vanderbilt, the four inactive players are not recovering from injuries. Instead, Stackhouse said postgame, their absences were a result of him being “overly cautious,” as they appear to be returning from COVID-19 related absences.

Five minutes into the game, after three Commodore turnovers, one by Maxwell Evans and two by Scotty Pippen Jr., Vanderbilt was tied with the 357th-ranked team in the nation, according to KenPom, at seven apiece. And the game kept moving, while Vanderbilt kept struggling to find its footing.

Nearly a quarter of the way through the game, with 11:27 left in the first half, the Commodores found themselves trailing 15-9.

Vanderbilt eventually found its rhythm and shook off the rust. From thereon out, the Commodores finished the half on a 20-5 run, with Pippen Jr. and Disu leading the charge with nine and eight points apiece in the first.

Disu hit a last-second three to send the Commodores to the locker room with a 12-point, 34-22 lead, but Coach Stackhouse wasn’t content with his team’s seven-turnover first half performance. But Vanderbilt certainly cleaned things up by the second half, prompting their run to continue.

“[Disu] is a guy we just want to focus on,” Stackhouse said. “He has the ability to take advantage of guys whether there are bigger guys on him, or he has to go and space the floor out… Not only can he score, but he can be a facilitator for us with his length and size.”

The second half started just as the first half ended with a quick three-pointer from Disu, and the momentum kept moving in Vanderbilt’s direction, as Stackhouse’s group proceeded to make nine of its next 11 shot attempts. By the 14:50-mark in the second half, the Commodores had extended it to a 43-9 run, with make-after-make on offense and stop-after-stop on defense. 

Shortly thereafter, Vanderbilt pulled its starters for the day and emptied the bench. Along came freshman forward Akeem Odusipe, a scholarship player who had not yet logged playing time, followed by walk-ons Drew Weikert and Isaiah Rice. Odusipe registered two points and two rebounds in 11 minutes of burn, while Weikert had two points of his own in seven minutes.

“You just want to see guys execute on both the offensive and defensive end. And we were a little off,” Stackhouse said after his team’s 43-point victory over the Delta Devils. “We do it, we work on things every day…Then all of a sudden, the motions of the game make us speed up a little bit.”

Vanderbilt’s day may not have gotten off to the start they had hoped for, but by game’s end, there was plenty reason for Stackhouse to be excited—not just because of his team’s 2-0 record, but because they’re back on the court.

“We’re happy to play. Just happy to be back here today,” Stackhouse said. “It was just a victory to be able to play today.”

Vanderbilt (2-0) will return to action at home on Dec. 16 as they host the 19th-ranked Richmond Spiders (4-1) at 12:00 CST.

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About the Contributor
Simon Gibbs
Simon Gibbs, Former Sports Editor
Simon Gibbs (‘21) is the former Sports Editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler. He has been on staff since the first semester of his freshman year, previously serving as a Staff Writer, Senior Writer and Deputy Sports Editor. Simon is also the host of VU Sports Wired on Vanderbilt Video Productions and The Hustler Sports 30 on VandyRadio. Simon has attended several events as credentialed media, including the 2019 NFL Draft, 2019 College Baseball World Series and the 2019 SEC Tournament. Outside of his Commodore coverage, Simon has had bylines published on and When he's not writing, you can find Simon watching his hometown New York Mets, waiting for that next ring. For tips, comments or concerns, please reach out to: [email protected]    
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