Saturday, January 26, 2013
Vanderbilt routed 81-59 by No. 22 Missouri
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings had a simple explanation for his team's 81-59 loss at No. 22 Missouri on Saturday.
"There's not a whole lot to say about this going wrong or that going wrong," Stallings said. "They were much better and much faster. They shot better and rebounded way better. In every facet they whooped us."
Rod Odom matched a career high with 17 points and Kedren Johnson added 11 for Vanderbilt (8-10, 2-4 Southeastern Conference), which entered the day having won consecutive games for the second time this season.
But after a dunk by Sheldon Jeter gave the Commodores an 11-8 lead with 15:25 left in the first half, Missouri scored 32 of the next 34 points in a span of 11:47. Vanderbilt trailed 49-20 at halftime.
"I thought we were improving coming into this game," Stallings said. "We had won two in a row, one a road game against a South Carolina team that came in here and played awfully well the other night. But we were just physically overmatched today. When they started making shots like that, we were in trouble."
Jabari Brown scored 21 points and Alex Oriakhi tied a career high with 18 for Missouri (15-4, 4-2). After going 11 of 51 on 3-point attempts their past two games, the Tigers hit 11 of 21 Saturday -- including eight in the first half for a rare fast start.
Brown has scored in double figures in nine of his 10 games with the Tigers, and leads the team in conference play with 17.3 points per game. He entered the day leading the SEC with 3.2 3-pointers per game, and shot 4 of 8 from behind the arc.
"I definitely feel like I'm getting more comfortable out there," Brown said. "It's a learning process. I'm just learning something from every game and moving forward."
Oriakhi's 12 rebounds, including six offensive boards, helped give Missouri a 40-18 advantage on the glass, including 24-7 in the first half. With senior Laurence Bowers missing his fifth consecutive game because of a sprained ligament in his right knee, Missouri coach Frank Haith said the past few games have been "healthy" for Oriakhi to be the go-to guy.
"Whenever our guards miss shots, I feel I clean it up," Oriakhi said. "Offensive rebounding, I feel that's my best offense."
A 6-foot-9, 255-pound senior transfer from Connecticut, Oriakhi made 15 consecutive free throws spanning three games before missing his final attempt Saturday.
The Commodores scored the first eight points of the second half and later narrowed the deficit to 56-39 with 14:39 remaining, but got no closer despite making 15 of 30 shots after the break.
"Nobody on our team is going to lay down," Odom said. "We just had guys that wanted to come out and fight as hard as they could."
Johnson, who leads Vanderbilt with 15.1 points per game, was held scoreless in the first half before scoring 11 after the break. A layup with 19:07 left was his first basket in three road conference games after missing his first 13 attempts.
The Tigers received a boost from Keion Bell, who scored two fast-break layups and two free throws in a span of three consecutive possessions during the run. Bell missed the team's previous game with a sprained ankle.
"I felt that earlier in the game we needed energy, we needed a spark somewhere along the line," Bell said. "So I just tried to provide that spark, just tried to put as much pressure on the ball as I can, and it turned out that it led to a lot of easy baskets the other way and I felt that was contagious throughout our team."
The game was Haith's second since CBSSports.com reported Monday that he would face NCAA charges of "unethical conduct" and "failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance" related to his time at the University of Miami following a nearly two-year investigation.
The NCAA announced Wednesday, however, that it was temporarily suspending its investigation of the school because of improper conduct by members of its enforcement program. NCAA President Mark Emmert said he expected an external review of his organization to be finished within two weeks, and would not be issuing any Notice of Allegations until then.
Despite off-court distractions and playing four of their next six games on the road, Missouri's players are just trying to focus on basketball.
"I definitely think everything's a mindset with this team," Oriakhi said. "I think all the pieces are there. ... We have to build off this. We can't be satisfied."