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 secures 75-70 win over Ole Miss on Senior Day

Vanderbilt closes out its 2020-21 home slate with a 74-70 win over NCAA Tournament hopeful Ole Miss.
Vanderbilt honored its four seniors on Sat. before its contest with the Ole Miss Rebels. (Hustler Multimedia/Hunter Long).

During their senior day matchup with the Ole Miss Rebels, Vanderbilt seniors Maxwell Evans, Clevon Brown, Isaiah Rice and Ejike Obinna received honors and video montages and closed out their Vanderbilt careers with a 75-50 win.  

Vanderbilt was once again without Dylan Disu and Scotty Pippen Jr., and in the absence of their star players, the Commodores changed their game plan. The team announced last week that Disu would be out for the year with a meniscus injury, but Stackhouse gave an update on Pippen Jr.’s status after the win.

“Scotty might be back by the LSU game,” Stackhouse said. “If not then, then hopefully by [next] Saturday.”  

But freshmen guards Trey Thomas and Isaac McBride made sure to hold down the fort, both scoring in double digits and Evans spoke after the game about the adjustments the team has made in Pippen Jr. and Disu’s absences.

“We just tried to get the ball moving to everybody. Everybody could shoot the ball: drive, kick, swinging it, shooting when you’re open, just confidence,” Evans said after the game.

The Commodores started hot, with Thomas making his first three-pointer just before the first media timeout to help Vanderbilt secure an early 9-6 lead. Ole Miss Senior Devontae Shuler was quick to close the gap, scoring 8 points during the first ten minutes of play. Shuler continued to dominate, scoring 25 points total over the course of the game. 

After multiple fouls on the Commodores and consistent missed opportunities, the Rebels found themselves in the lead, ahead 27-20 late in the half. As the end of the first half neared, however, the Commodores finally found the net, closing with a 9-0 run that put them up 34-32 at the break. 

Entering the second half, the Commodores held onto their two point lead, but the Rebels fought back with a 7-0 run over the course of just 1:27 minutes, tying the score at 48-48. 

With just seven minutes remaining in the second half, the Commodores established a sizable 63-53 lead. Thanks to six second-half three pointers, it appeared as though Vanderbilt was in position to take the game easily.

However, the Rebels mounted another quick run, closing the ten point deficit with an 8-0 run over 1:05 minutes. Shuler buried a late three-pointer that cut the Vanderbilt lead to just two. After a Rebel foul, Brown made one of two from the free throw line, giving the Rebels a chance to tie the game with a three.

Despite two open looks, Vanderbilt was able to secure a rebound and hit two final free throws to put the game out of reach for the Rebels.

Teamwork was key to Vanderbilt’s game plan, and this team’s confidence shined through today. During the post-game press conference, Stackhouse emphasized the impact of this team’s recent confidence.

“Confidence comes from the work that you do for your skill set, confidence comes from just being prepared,” Stackhouse said. “Today, we stepped up and made plays. This is a huge confidence builder for us to finish up strong and really carry some momentum into the SEC tournament.”

Multiple players scored in the double digits, and the Commodores’ 16 assists demonstrated a commitment to keeping the ball in motion. 

The Rebels scored 30 points in the paint but were held to just four three-pointers on Saturday afternoon. Ole Miss, an NCAA bubble team, will now have just two regular season games remaining to make its case for the big dance.

The Commodores will look to make it two in a row as they face the LSU Tigers on Tuesday. 

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About the Contributor
Anita Mukherjee, Former Staff Writer
Anita Mukherjee ('23) is from Palo Alto, California, double majoring in math and economics. She can be reached at [email protected].
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