Another day, another nail-biter at Memorial Gymnasium.
The Commodores held the lead for a whopping 34 minutes, yet this statistic is far from representative of the game. Both Vanderbilt and TCU had 38 points in the second half; the only difference ended up being Vanderbilt’s 3 point halftime lead.
Here are three thoughts from the SEC – Big 12 Challenge.
Rebounds, Rebounds, Rebounds
The Commodores came out hot on the offensive end, shooting lights out to start the game. However, given their rebounding struggles, the early lead didn’t last very long.
That’s not to say their defense was perfect, but when TCU missed a shot, Vanderbilt couldn’t seem to finish the possession and corral the board. This led to easy layup opportunities for TCU and left Vanderbilt playing keep-up. As long as Bryce Drew continues to roll with the small ball starting lineup, rebounding won’t come easy.
By halftime, TCU had seven offensive rebounds leading to six second-chance points. This may not seem like much, but the rebounding woes continued throughout the duration of this game, as they finished the game with 14 offensive rebounds, twice as many as Vanderbilt. It’s also important to note that while the rebounding was a big issue for the Commodores, the defense did a good job adjusting. Despite being outrebounded 36-21, the Commodores were able to limit TCU’s second chance points to only 8.
In the end, the Commodores were able to secure the boards when it counted most. Leading by just one point with 19 seconds left in the game, Saben Lee missed two straight jumpers; the first one he rebounded himself, and the second one Clevon Brown corralled.
Playing by the Rules
There’s one very simple way to make Bryce Drew’s job a whole lot easier: play by the rules, don’t commit unnecessary fouls.
Vanderbilt had just five team fouls at halftime, with no player logging more than one personal foul. By committing so few fouls, Vanderbilt limited TCU’s offense. Coach Drew was also able to get the most out of his star players, as he didn’t have to worry about anyone being in foul trouble.
By the end of the game, the Commodores had just 11 team fouls and nobody exceeded two personal fouls. As a result, Bryce Drew got the most of his starting five; three of that five, Roberson, LaChance and Saben Lee, played at least 30 minutes.
The best part is, TCU didn’t shoot a single free throw all game.
Turnovers Turned into Points
Vanderbilt forced plenty of turnovers in this one, allowing them to hold on to a small lead in the end.
TCU had 12 turnovers by the end of the game, powered by 6 Commodore steals. Four of the Horned Frogs’ turnovers were from starting guard Alex Robinson, and half of Vanderbilt’s steals were courtesy of Freshman Saben Lee. On the other hand, Vanderbilt had 7 turnovers as a team. While there may only be a small discrepancy between the two, Vanderbilt did a terrific job of maximizing their points off opposing turnovers.
TCU made it easy for Vanderbilt to make up for their lack of rebounding. In the end, the Commodores had 21 points off opposing turnovers and 12 points in transition. TCU had just 8.
There is no time for the Commodores to bask in the glory. In just three days, they travel to Kentucky to take on the top-notch Wildcats.