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.

Memorial Magic: Ezra Manjon’s buzzer-beater lifts Vanderbilt over Texas A&M, 74-73

Late heroics from Ezra Manjon and a monster performance from Ven-Allen Lubin were enough for the Commodores to beat the Aggies.
Nikita Rohila
Ezra Manjon attempts a shot against Texas A&M, as photographed on Feb. 13, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Nikita Rohila)

Magic returned to Memorial Gymnasium once again on Tuesday night. The Commodores found themselves trailing by one with 13 seconds remaining, but they weren’t going to be down for very long. With a wild circus shot as time expired, Ezra Manjon earned Vanderbilt its second conference win of the season as the Commodores took down Texas A&M, 74-73.

“This team’s been through a lot this season,” Manjon said after the game. “To be able to share that moment with my guys means everything to me.”

It was a tense, back-and-forth affair at Memorial Gymnasium with neither team able to gain control until the final seconds of the game. The Aggies clawed back from a 72-69 deficit to take a one-point lead after four made free throws from guard Tyrece Radford in the final minute, but Manjon erased it with another thrilling shot.

For most of the game, it was the Ven-Allen Lubin show for the Commodores. Lubin tallied 25 points on a hyper-efficient 9-of-13 shooting along with 5 rebounds, representing a force on the low block all game long. Along with the winner at the end, Manjon poured in 19 points and 4 assists for Vanderbilt. In the end, the duo did just enough to give Vanderbilt its second conference win in four games.

“They’ve been battling and battling, so it’s great for them to have these moments,” head coach Jerry Stackhouse said. “[The players] being so happy for their teammate’s success speaks volumes about the kids that we have.”

It was a slow start for both sides on Tuesday with only two total baskets inside the game’s opening three minutes. The Commodores were able to keep pace early on with the Aggies due to the efforts of Lubin, who scored Vanderbilt’s first eleven points of the game. Manjon finally converted the Commodores’ first non-Lubin basket with just over 13 minutes remaining in the first frame, using a crafty spin and finish to give Vanderbilt its first lead, 13-12. 

Vanderbilt began to build on its lead as the half ticked past its midpoint, with the introductions of Jason Rivera-Torres and Evan Taylor from the bench giving the Commodores a boost of energy. Most importantly, Vanderbilt was able to bottle up Texas A&M’s leading scorer Wade Taylor IV (19.9 PPG), who was kept scoreless through the game’s first 13 minutes. After another Aggies turnover, head coach Buzz Williams called a timeout with Vanderbilt leading 20-18. 

Despite the Commodores’ enduring a nearly three-minute long scoring drought that saw them come up empty on six straight possessions, Vanderbilt continued to play stifling defense and keep the Aggies’ offense at bay. Finally, two baskets from Tyrin Lawrence upon his reintroduction into the game finally broke the streak and allowed Vanderbilt to maintain its narrow lead. The offensive struggles persisted for the Commodores, though, and Taylor IV’s first six points of the game in the final minutes of the opening half allowed the Aggies to snatch back the lead, 31-30, heading into the half. 

The Aggies came out of the halftime break punching, but the Commodores continued to answer back. Quick baskets from Taylor IV and guard Jace Carter were quickly responded to with behind-the-arc conversions from Lubin and Isaiah West, respectively. With just over five minutes gone in the second half, the Commodores found themselves leading 44-42. The Commodores fell behind shortly after with another three-minute scoring drought, but two free throws and a beautiful shake-and-bake from Manjon earned Vanderbilt the lead back, 50-49.  

Unfortunately for the Commodores, Manjon was forced off of the court briefly with an ankle injury after a hard cut. Nevertheless, Taylor and Vanderbilt’s bench unit continued to produce, with the graduate forward scoring five straight to keep Vanderbilt’s offense churning. Following a Taylor IV three-pointer, Vanderbilt held onto a one-point lead with 7:21 remaining. 

The Commodores continued to find a rhythm playing through Lubin on the low block, but the Aggies’ guard Radford continued to respond with deep conversions. With time ticking below three minutes, the sides continued to trade punches and stay knotted right up until a thrilling finish from Manjon and the Commodores. 

Vanderbilt will look to win their third SEC game of the season when it takes on Tennessee on Feb. 17 at 5:00 p.m. CST.

Leave a comment
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 .
Nikita Rohila
Nikita Rohila, Deputy Social Media Director
Nikita Rohila ('25) is from a small town in Arkansas and is majoring in psychology and medicine, health and society in the College of Arts and Science. During her free time, she enjoys roaming around the city and getting cinematic-style shots for her photography account! You can reach her at [email protected].
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
All The Vanderbilt Hustler picks Reader picks Sort: Newest
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments