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 narrowly passes by UNC Greensboro 74-70

The Commodores went 11-for-29 from the 3-point line in their win over UNC Greensboro on Tuesday night.
Colin+Smith+celebrates+after+making+a+three+during+Vanderbilts+game+against+UNC+Greensboro%2C+as+photographed+on+Nov.+14%2C+2023.+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FJosh+Rehders%29
Josh Rehders
Colin Smith celebrates after making a three during Vanderbilt’s game against UNC Greensboro, as photographed on Nov. 14, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Josh Rehders)

The Vanderbilt Commodores defeated UNC Greensboro 74-70 on Tuesday night behind a 24-point performance from senior Ezra Manjon. One week after suffering a nightmare loss to Presbyterian and four days after winning its first game of the season, the Commodores won their second consecutive game

“I just think we were selfless sharing the ball,” Manjon said. “We have a lot of new guys and I think it’s good for their first three college games to go through a little bit of roughness.”

Vanderbilt head coach Jerry Stackhouse elected to start Manjon, Isaiah West, Evan Taylor, Colin Smith and Carter Lang. The Commodores played without Tyrin Lawrence, Ven Allen-Lubin, and Lee Dort for the third consecutive game as they were nursing separate injuries.

UNC Greensboro got on the board first on Tuesday night, thanks to a turnaround jumper from Mikeal Brown-Jones. After a failed 3-point attempt from West, UNC Greensboro looked to strengthen its lead. UNCG’s Jalen Breath missed a layup and Smith responded with a 3-pointer for Vanderbilt a few moments later. The Commodores continued to find success from behind the arc, scoring 9 of its next 11 points off of 3-pointers from Smith and Manjon. With 13:24 remaining in the first half, the Commodores led the Spartans 14-9. 

“You saw his [Smith’s] ability to shoot the basketball,” Stackhouse told The Hustler. “He’s a really versatile piece for us. He can slide all the way down to the three and he can slide all the way to the five.”

Although the Commodores had no issue putting the ball in the net, they were unable to pull away with their lead due to UNCG’s high-powered offense. Vanderbilt finally pulled away until the first half was over halfway elapsed.

Vanderbilt led UNC Greensboro 22-19 with just over nine minutes remaining in the first half. Freshman Jason Rivera-Torres expanded the Commodores’ lead to five points when he made a pull-up jumper. Rivera-Torres’s shot was followed by 11 unanswered points from the Commodores. Vanderbilt’s 13-0 run was capped off by a pair of successful free throws from Manjon. With 3:33 remaining in the first half, Vanderbilt was up 35-19.

Before UNC Greensboro ended its dry spell, Vanderbilt’s JaQualon Roberts blocked Tim Ceaser. The block helped Vanderbilt ride its double-digit lead into the halftime break. 

The Commodores led the Spartans 41-29 at the halftime break. 24 of Vanderbilt’s 41 points came from beyond the arc. While UNCG went 13.3% from the 3-point line, Vanderbilt went 42.1% from the 3-point line.

Vanderbilt kept its foot on the gas after the halftime break, scoring a 3-pointer from West on its first possession of the half. The two teams continued to trade punches for the ensuing six minutes. 

Vanderbilt’s double-digit lead was not threatened until Keyshaun Langley took advantage of a bad pass from Lewis and made a layup to put the game at 53-43 with 13:20 left in the half. After nearly a three and a half minute scoreless spell from both teams, Tasos Kamateros pushed Vanderbilt’s lead back to 13 points with a much-needed 3-pointer.

The Commodores’ momentum quickly subsided though, as UNCG scored six unanswered points off of a pair of free throws from Langley and two layups from Jones. The Spartans continued to play complementary basketball and found themselves down 60-56 to the Commodores at the last media timeout. 

Leading UNCG 64-60 with just under two minutes remaining in the game, Manjon was fouled. The point guard made the Spartans pay, making both of his free throws. Langley responded with a 3-point attempt, but it was off-target. On the ensuing possession, Manjon made two more free throws to give Vanderbilt a 68-60 lead with 1:10 remaining in the game. The Spartans made a late-game push, but the Commodores ended the night victorious.  

“We really take that stuff [free throws] seriously,” Stackhouse said. “Take the first game. We missed enough free throws to not win the game. We lost by 6 and missed 11 free throws.”

The Commodores will suit back up on Friday at 6 p.m. CST with a home matchup against Central Arkansas.

“We learn to take the good with the bad with what we do,” Stackhouse said. “I know who I am. I know who my team is and we’re going to continue to be exactly that.”

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About the Contributors
Andrew Wilf
Andrew Wilf, Former Sports Editor
Andrew Wilf (’24) is Sports Editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler. He is from Livingston, N.J., and is majoring in history and minoring in business. He joined the sports staff his freshman year, previously serving as a Staff Writer, Assistant Sports Editor and Deputy Sports Editor. Beyond writing for The Hustler, he is also the host of Anchor Analysis, Commodore Clash and Live From West End. In his free time, Andrew enjoys watching the NFL and playing golf. He can be reached at [email protected].
Josh Rehders
Josh Rehders, Former Photography Director
Josh Rehders ('24) is from Houston and is studying computer science in the School of Engineering. When he is not shooting for The Hustler, Vanderbilt Athletics or freelancing, he enjoys finding new music and good food. He can be reached at [email protected].
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