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.

Turnovers, rebounding doom Vanderbilt in stunning 64-62 loss to Grambling State

Just two days after an impressive home win over Pitt, Vanderbilt was upset by Grambling State at Memorial Gymnasium on Friday.
Ophelia Lu
Trey Thomas dribbles against Grambling State on December 9, 2022 at Memorial Gymnasium (Hustler Multimedia/Ophelia Lu).

Vanderbilt (5-5) fell to Grambling State (6-3) 64-62 on Friday, Dec. 9, finishing a three-game home stand. The Commodores committed 19 turnovers on the night and were outscored 34-14 in the paint by the Tigers.

“Very disappointing loss for us,” head coach Jerry Stackhouse said after the game. “Hats off to Grambling, they played tough. They hit first, we gave up too many offensive rebounds. And then we didn’t take care of the ball. 19 turnovers is a recipe for disaster in a tough loss for us tonight.” 

After playing 25 minutes and scoring 12 points against Pitt on Wednesday, senior Jordan Wright was out with a hip injury for the game and freshman Paul Lewis was also unavailable on Friday.

“We missed Jordan and what he brings to the table for us, but we had enough to get it done tonight and we just didn’t,” Stackhouse added. 

The Commodores started the game slow, quickly finding themselves down 10-0 in as they committed four turnovers and allowed three offensive rebounds in the first four minutes.

Vanderbilt was held scoreless until 14:47 in the half when 5th-year Liam Robbins put in a pair of free throws. Grambling State punished Vanderbilt on the offensive glass and in transition which put the Commodores at a disadvantage early.

Vanderbilt did not hit a field goal until 11:26 in the first half when freshman Colin Smith got his own offensive rebound off a 3-point attempt and made an acrobatic finish at the rim despite getting fouled. He finished the three-point-play at the free throw line and scored again on the next possession with a two-handed flush to keep the Commodores within 10 points.

Turnovers continued to plague Vanderbilt on offense due in part to Grambling State’s high-pressure defense and significant size and length. The Tigers played a 2-3 zone for significant portions of the game, which slowed the Commodores’ offensive flow.

“We didn’t execute as well as we should have in some of our zone sets,” Stackhouse said afterwards. “We had some of our newer guys in and didn’t execute our plays to the exact tee that we wanted to run.”

As the first half continued, the Commodores put together a few defensive stops, and junior Tyrin Lawrence (15 points) beat his man on a one-on-one drive to the basket. His layup cut the Grambling State lead to 18-14 with 7:24 remaining in the half.

The Tigers quickly pushed their lead back to eight with a couple layups then, but juniors Trey Thomas (12 points, 4-9 3-PT) and Myles Stute kept the Commodores in the game with back-to-back 3-point shots as the first half came to a close. 

Vanderbilt only found itself down 27-24 at the half despite committing more than three times (13-4) as many turnovers as Grambling State.

After the break, a Stute three followed by a Lawrence drive-and-dunk gave Vanderbilt their first lead of the game, 29-27. It was short-lived, however, as the Tigers continued to dominate inside as the second half continued. Vanderbilt gave up 13 offensive rebounds total in the game.

Every time it seemed like the Commodores could go ahead, the Tigers had an answer and continued to hold onto a slight lead through most of the second half. However, Vanderbilt was able to find holes in the Grambling State defense little by little to stay close behind.

As the game came down the stretch, Smith hit a corner three and Robbins and Lawrence took advantage of their opportunities at the free throw line. Vanderbilt got into the bonus early and was able to convert 17 of 21 free throws in the second half, including a perfect eight of eight by Lawrence and five of seven from Robbins.

The Commodores were up three points with 1:58 to go when Thomas turned the ball over and committed two successive fouls which the Tigers capitalized on to take back a 63-60 lead.

Lawrence converted another pair of free throws on the next possession to cut the Tiger lead to one point with 35 seconds left. Stackhouse elected for his team not to foul and trusted his defense to make a stop with the game and shot clocks separated by only five seconds. A Grambling State shot attempt fell flat, but the Tigers collected a crucial offensive rebound which forced the Commodores to foul.

“They got the 50-50 balls all night long,” Stackhouse added afterwards. “Whenever there was a random play or loose balls, it seemed like they were the team that was quicker in getting to the ball.”

The Tigers converted one of two free throws to go up 64-62, and Vanderbilt called timeout after collecting the defensive rebound with 3.2 seconds remaining.

Stackhouse drew up a play intended for a Robbins shot attempt. Lawrence threw the ball from the sideline to Robbins a few feet above the 3-point line in the middle of the court. He took a dribble right and had a clean shot attempt to win the game, but the ball bounced off the rim to the floor unsuccessful.

With the loss, the Commodores drop to 5-5 on the season. Vanderbilt will have a week off of competition before traveling to Chicago, IL to play NC State in the Legends of Basketball Showcase on Dec. 17 at 9:30 p.m. CST.

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About the Contributors
Matthew Shipley
Matthew Shipley, Former Senior Staff Writer
Matthew Shipley (‘25) is from Hendersonville, Tenn., and is majoring in economics, mathematics and political science and minoring in data science. He enjoys closely following the U.S. Supreme Court, playing basketball and being involved in his faith community. He can be reached at [email protected].
Ophelia Lu
Ophelia Lu, Deputy Photography Editor
Ophelia Lu (’26) is from Los Angeles and is double majoring in biomedical and electrical engineering in the School of Engineering. She previously served as a staff photographer. When not covering events and sports games for The Hustler, you can find her listening to a lot of music, studying at Starbucks or lying on Alumni lawn. She can be reached at [email protected].
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