- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A quick look at Vanderbilt’s 64-62 victory over Oregon State for the Legends Classic title Monday night at the IZOD Center...
Overview: Vanderbilt found itself this weekend in New Jersey after a poor effort against the new Horizon League favorite Cleveland State at home last week. The Commodores found multiple scorers in wins over NC State and Oregon State. But most importantly, Vandy learned how to close games in each of the two games. That had been a major problem for the Commodores last season in its inability to find a consistent streak.
Vandy is still learning how to play without its most effective big man in Festus Ezeli, who is out for another few weeks with a knee injury (in conjunction with his six-game NCAA suspension). The Dores still also need to defend better in spurts.
Vanderbilt did do a tremendous job on Oregon State’s Jared Cunningham (who scored 37 points against Texas), limiting him to nine points. The Beavers also were poor on 3-pointers (2-of-14). But the Commodores made plays when it mattered most. John Jenkins continued to keep the Beavers at bay with money shots and finished with four 3s. But Brad Tinsley hit the biggest jumper of the season when he snapped a 62-62 tie with 4 seconds to go.
Star of the game: Tinsley hit the game-winning shot, but Jenkins was the most consistent throughout the game and the hardest to stop for the Beavers. And don’t forget about Lance Goulbourne, who was able to get to the rim along the baseline and finish with authority. He finished with a team-high 9 rebounds.
What this means: Vandy has righted itself and will remain a top-20 team. The Dores still have to play Marquette and Louisville on the road but that’s after hosting Xavier on Nov. 28. Vandy will have plenty of other opportunities for power-rating games.
Oregon State plays two nonconference games against teams from the power six and they were both here. The Beavers split the pair of games and had a chance to win both. Now OSU just has to take care of business and close this trip strong by beating Towson. If Oregon State wins the games it should, it should be in the hunt in the Pac-12. This team is defending much better, has great length with Eric Moreland and Devon Collier, a sound big man in Joe Burton and scoring wings in Ahmad Starks and Cunningham. Don't be surprised to find this team on the NCAA bubble.