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Five takeaways: Vanderbilt vs. TSU

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Five takeaways: Vanderbilt vs. TSU

Torben Ginsberg

Vanderbilt returned home Tuesday night to face the 6-0 Tennessee State Tigers at Memorial Gym. Here are five takeaways from the win as hot shooting and strong rebounding led the Commodores an 83-59 victory, their fourth win of the year.

Matthew Fisher-Davis critical to offensive success

Matthew Fisher-Davis had a strong game against Tennessee State, especially in the first half, scoring 16 of his 22 points. The Commodores poured in 43 points on 61 percent shooting in that first half, thanks to the shooting of Fisher-Davis and Jeff Roberson.

With Fisher-Davis on the bench in the first half, however, the offense stalled, managing just one field goal in three minutes and allowing Tennessee State to close the gap. As soon as Fisher-Davis checked back in, the scoring picked up right where it left off, and the Commodores ended the half on a 19-4 run. Having the junior sharpshooter on the floor dramatically increases the effectiveness of the offense.

Turnovers still an issue

While the Vandy offense put on a good performance against Tennessee State, it continues to commit turnovers at a high rate. The Commodores came into the game averaging 13.8 turnovers per game, tied for 189th in the nation, and committed 19 on Tuesday night. Moving forward, Vanderbilt will have to limit the turnovers, as it will be facing much more aggressive defenses in SEC play than it has to this point in the season.

Good offense, better defense

The defensive potential of this Commodore team was on full display against the Tigers. Tennessee State entered Tuesday night’s contest averaging over 76 points per game, but Vanderbilt held it to just 59 points on 41 percent shooting. The Commodores played active, aggressive half-court defense, with well-executed rotations and double teams helping to force 14 turnovers. Additionally, Vanderbilt held the Tigers’ leading scorers in check. Point guard Tahjere McCall and forward Wayne Martin came into the game averaging a combined 28.5 points per game but managed just 13 total in the loss to the Commodores.

We want more Joe Toye

Many expected the sophomore wing from Chicago to jump into the starting lineup this season, but, as things stand today, Toye is coming off the bench and averaging just 16 minutes per game. Against TSU, he posted five points in only 11 minutes of play. While he might not be ready for the starting role, Toye is by far the most athletic wing on the roster and a solid defender, and Vanderbilt is a much more exciting team with him on the floor.

Dominant rebounding

The Commodores outrebounded the Tigers 39-20 in this one, another key factor in the blowout victory. Tennessee State has been a strong rebounding team to this point in the season, but it was outmatched on Tuesday by Vanderbilt’s team effort.

“They really handed it to us, especially on the glass… We’ve never been outrebounded by 19 before,” Tigers coach Dana Ford said.

Rebounding should continue to be a point of strength for the Commodores throughout the season, as they have great size and disciplined team rebounding tendencies.

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