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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 takes down Missouri 68-61, wins first SEC game

Vanderbilt won its first game since December in a tight contest over Mizzou.
Lana English
Isaiah West shoots a three, as photographed on Feb. 3, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Lana English)

In their eighth conference game of the season, the Vanderbilt Commodores captured their first SEC win of the season with a 68-61 victory over Missouri. Despite going down early on, Vanderbilt was able to fight back and hold on to its narrow lead for the entirety of the second half. 

Although their shooting struggles continued (5-22 3P), the Commodores outrebounded the Tigers, 40-30, and largely won the battle in the paint. Vanderbilt won with a balanced attack, having four players scoring in double-digits, with Ezra Manjon (17 points, 4 assists) and Tyrin Lawrence (14 points, 8 rebounds) leading the way. 

“Well, that felt good,” head coach Jerry Stackhouse said after the game. “Really happy for our guys who have been working hard and hadn’t been able to get over the hump yet.”

Despite Vanderbilt holding leading for the entire second half, Mizzou kept it close with the Commodores, narrowing Vanderbilt’s lead to one possession multiple times. The Commodores were up just one point with under two minutes remaining before clutch midrange jumpers from Evan Taylor and Tyrin Lawrence earned them enough breathing room to escape Memorial with the win. 

The start of the game was dominated by Missouri forward Noah Carter, who scored nine points in two minutes to help the Tigers jump out to an early lead. Carter’s size presented a challenge for Vanderbilt’s forwads all afternoon, who were largely unable to contain him as the big man neared his season-high with 20 points. 

Vanderbilt’s offense struggled early, with the Commodores scoring just six points in the game’s opening six minutes. The spark finally came from Isaiah West, who checked in and immediately converted two shots from behind the arc and contributed a block and steal on the defensive end. After going down double digits almost immediately, Vanderbilt fed off of West’s energy and clawed their way back, trailing 20-19 with eight minutes remaining in the half. 

On the other side of the media timeout, a cut and layup from Mizzou’s Sean East II out of the media timeout ended the Tigers’ six-minute field goal drought. Despite looking hobbled earlier in the half, Tyrin Lawrence gave Vanderbilt its first lead of the game, 25-24, following conversions on three consecutive possessions. Following a putback from Ven-Allen Lubin and another triple from West, the Tigers were forced into calling a timeout with just under two minutes remaining in the half. Four quick points from Carter shortened Vanderbilt’s lead to three, where it would remain for halftime. 

Coming out of the break, two immediate midrange conversions from Manjon got the Commodores off on the right foot. An ensuing miss from Mizzou and jumper from Taylor forced Mizzou into an early timeout with Vanderbilt’s lead quickly extending to nine. The sides continued to trade baskets as the clock ticked under fifteen minutes remaining, with Carter keeping the Tigers afloat with a shot from behind the arc and an and-1 conversion. With just over eleven minutes remaining, the Commodores held onto a narrow 44-40 lead. 

With just under ten minutes remaining, Stackhouse elected to substitute freshman Jason Rivera-Torres in the game for the first time. Another triple from West ignited Memorial, but a quick response from Missouri’s Taron Bates kept the Tigers within striking distance at 47-42. Despite Vanderbilt leading for the first 12 minutes of the second half, Mizzou did not allow Vanderbilt’s lead to grow to more than nine. 

A dunk from Lawrence and crafty finish from Paul Lewis had the Commodores’ faithful on their feet once again, but East II and the Tigers kept fighting back. With 4:01 remaining, the Tigers cut Vanderbilt’s lead to 53-51 before two made free throws from Manjon put the Commodores up by four. Two bad possessions for the Commodores were followed up by consecutive Mizzou conversions, putting Vanderbilt up just one with 1:30 remaining.

And, finally, Vanderbilt was able to shut the door on the Tigers. The jumpers from Lawrence and Taylor extended Vanderbilt’s lead to five and the Commodores made all of their free throws down the stretch to secure their first win since December.

Now with their first conference win of the season, the Commodores will look to make it two when they take on Kentucky on Tuesday night at Memorial.

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About the Contributors
Anish Mago
Anish Mago, Deputy Sports Editor
Anish Mago ('24) is from West Windsor, N.J., and is studying economics and political science in the College of Arts and Science. He previously served as a staff writer for the Sports section. When not writing for The Hustler, Anish enjoys playing basketball and rooting for all Philly sports. He can be reached at .
Lana English
Lana English, Staff Photographer
Lana English (‘27) is from St. Louis and is majoring in neuroscience in the College of Arts and Science. Outside of The Hustler, you can find her drinking coffee, doing New York Times word games or getting nostalgic looking at old pictures. You can reach her at [email protected].
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