Three thoughts: Vanderbilt avoids bad upset against UNC Asheville

The Vanderbilt Commodores beat UNC Ashville on Friday, November 17th, 2017. Taken by Brent Szklaruk

The Vanderbilt Commodores squeaked out a 79-76 win over UNC Asheville on Friday night.

It shouldn’t have been that close, but they still got it done.

There’s a lot to digest after that one, so here are three thoughts from the win.

Something’s STILL Foul

Less than ten minutes into the game, the Commodores already had five team fouls. Fisher-Davis’ two fouls were enough for him to take a seat early, and Ejike Obinna’s early foul (and two turnovers) also reserved him a seat on the pine.

By the end of the first half, the team had racked up eight team fouls and Jeff Roberson, Matthew Fisher-Davis, and Djery Baptiste each tallied two personal fouls.

Djery Baptiste had himself a great day: he was extremely efficient from the field, scoring 13 points on 5 of 6 shooting, with 8 rebounds. However, his day was limited because he racked up four fouls with about seven minutes left in the game.

The Charity Stripe

The free throw line is also known as the charity stripe for a reason, as the shots should be free points.

Key words: should be.

The Commodores weren’t great at the free throw line. Toye and Austin went 0-2 and 2-4 from the free throw line, which may not seem so meaningful, but those points could’ve been the difference-maker in this one.

If the Commodores are cutting it close against teams like UNC Asheville, it’s going to be super tough to sneak away with a win against an elite team—especially when it’s decided by very few points because of lackluster free throw shooting.

Beastly Backcourt

Coach Drew and this Commodore team is going to have to make some decisions next year. In fact, they’re going to be in a little bit of a dilemma—a good dilemma.

This team is incredibly deep in the backcourt. One name that has garnered plenty of attention is Saben Lee. He showed us once again that he’s an offensive threat that knows how to run the point. He racked up eight points, three assists and a rebound in the first half.

In addition to Lee, Coach Drew is going to have Darius Garland next season, who happens to be a five-star point guard recruit, respectively. In the first game of his senior year, Garland, coming fresh off his commitment to Vanderbilt, scored over 40 points.

So, what happens next year with Saben and Garland fighting for minutes at point? Lee looks like one of the most explosive point guards to come through Memorial Gymnasium in a long time, while Garland is the highest ranked recruit (#11 in the ESPN top 100) the Commodores have ever landed.

Coach Drew has plenty of time to decide how to use both of them, but regardless, the Commodores are going to have plenty of depth at point guard for the next few years.