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 loses track of No. 6 Tennessee, falls short 75-62

While the Commodores led the Volunteers 35-30 in the first half, they were outscored by Tennessee 45-27 in the second half on Saturday night.
Tyrin+Lawrence+goes+for+a+layup+over+Josiah-Jordan+Jaymes+in+the+first+half+of+Vanderbilts+matchup+against+Tennessee+on+Jan.+27%2C+2024.+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FJosh+Rehders%29
Josh Rehders
Tyrin Lawrence goes for a layup over Josiah-Jordan Jaymes in the first half of Vanderbilt’s matchup against Tennessee on Jan. 27, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Josh Rehders)

The Vanderbilt Commodores (5-14, 0-6) lost to the No. 6 Tennessee Volunteers (15-4, 5-1) on Saturday evening. Despite earning a five-point cushion at halftime, the Commodores were unable to pull off an upset over Tennessee for the second consecutive year. Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht — a projected first round pick in the 2024 NBA draft — scored 32 points on Saturday.

“He [Knecht] is a tough cover,” Jerry Stackhouse said. “He’s playing at a high level. He’s had around four or five straight games of nearly 30+ points.”

Vanderbilt head coach Jerry Stackhouse started Tyrin Lawrence, Ezra Manjon, Jason-Rivera Torres, Evan Taylor and Ven-Allen Lubin. Lawrence led Vanderbilt in scoring with 21 points. 

Vanderbilt got on the board first, thanks to a driving layup from Lawrence on the left side of the paint. Manjon followed Lawrence’s layup with a layup of his own. Knecht punched right back with a driving layup over Rivera-Torres on the ensuing possession. Manjon scored a layup soon after, which was then followed by an assist from Knecht to 6’11” forward Jonas Aidoo. Vanderbilt led Tennesee 6-5 at the first media timeout. 

Tennesee’s Jordan Gainey gave the Volunteers their first lead of the night with a made 3-pointer right after the media timeout. Manjon and Knecht then misfired on 3-point attempts of their own. With 14:51 to go in the first half, Manjon tied the game at 8 apiece with a made layup on a fast break opportunity. Zakai Ziegler then made a 3-pointer to put Tennessee up 11-8. The Commodores would score the next four points before the second media timeout, thanks to a layup from Manjon and two made free throws from Rivera-Torres.

The Volunteers were plagued by a solid stint of good defense from the Commodores just under midway through the first half. Before Santiago Vescovi converted on a layup to put Tennesee up 13-12 with 11:01 left in the first half, the Volunteers had undergone a 2:57 scoring drought. Just over two minutes later, the Volunteers and Commodores were tied at 17 apiece. With 8:39 left in the first half, Knecht galvanized the Tennesee fans in Memorial Gymnasium with an alley-oop off of an inbound. The Volunteers went on a 4-0 run after Knecht’s ferocious dunk.

The Commodores disallowed the Volunteers from running with a strong lead and engineered an 11-1 run, thanks to six points from Lawrence and five points from Lubin. The Commodores led Tennessee 28-24 with 3:54 remaining in the first half. Vanderbilt extended its lead to 35-30 when the first half buzzer sounded. Manjon and Lawrence combined for 22 points in the first half. 

Tennessee came out of the halftime break with a vengeance as Zeigler made a 3-pointer in the first position of the second half. The Volunteers continued to enforce their will on Vanderbilt and regained the lead when Knecht made a 2-point jumper to with 14:27 to go in the game. The Volunteers now led Vanderbilt 44-43. Knecht took over soon after, scoring the next seven points for Tennessee. While Knecht was making baskets left and right, Lawrence continued to keep Vanderbilt in the game. The Commodores trailed the Volunteers 51-48 with just over 11 minutes remaining in the game.

Tennessee went on a 10-2 run and put the game at 61-51 by the time of the penultimate media timeout. Lawrence reinvigorated the Vanderbilt fans at Memorial Gymnasium with a dunk with 7:26 remaining in the second half. Vanderbilt was unable to find much momentum thereafter as Tennesee continued to make its shots from beyond the arc. 

The Commodores were outscored by the Volunteers 45-27 in the second half. In the second half, Tennessee shot 50% from the 3-point line. Vanderbilt, on the other hand, made just 30.8% of its 3-point attempts in the second half.

Vanderbilt will return to the hardwood on Wednesday, Jan. 31 with an away matchup against the No. 8 Auburn Tigers at 8 p.m. CST. When the Commodores last played the Tigers, they lost 80-65. The last time Vanderbilt went on the road to beat Auburn came on Feb. 13, 2016

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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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