NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings was worried about his team in many ways entering Saturday's game against LSU.
The 14th-ranked Commodores (No. 16 AP) played sloppily in recent losses to Kentucky and Tennessee, their first of the season after crafting a school-best 16-0 start.Stallings was equally concerned with his team's mental state."We needed a win," he said. "I was afraid our confidence would be a little bit down. When you lose two in a row, it can start chipping away at how you feel about yourself."Vanderbilt got the remedy it needed as Alex Gordon and Shan Foster both scored 18 points to spark a 92-76 victory over LSU.Foster, Vanderbilt's best outside shooter, made only one of 11 3-point attempts Thursday at No. 7 Tennessee (No. 6 AP). He hit four of his first five shots from long distance Saturday. Gordon also made four 3s.The Commodores were 9-for-19 from 3-point range and shot 49.2 percent overall from the field.Ross Neltner added 16 points for the Commodores (17-2, 2-2 Southeastern Conference), while Jermaine Beal had 10 points and nine assists.Marcus Thornton had 27 points for the Tigers (7-11, 0-4) and Anthony Randolph added 14 points and 19 rebounds.LSU coach John Brady expected Vanderbilt to be motivated to snap the two-game losing streak."They needed this game at home," he said. "It was important for them to play well, and they did that."Vanderbilt blew the game open at the start the second half. Foster and Gordon swished two 3-pointers each in the first 3:28, pushing the lead to 57-41.The Commodores led by no less than 16 points the rest of the way and pushed the lead to 23 with 4:47 remaining on a 3-pointer by Gordon.Vanderbilt, sixth in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage entering the game at 42.3 percent, made eight of its first 14 from long range. LSU was only 4-of-13 for the game."We knew coming in they had a short bench," Gordon said of the Tigers. "Our mentality was to push the ball every chance we got and wear them down."That's what Brady was hoping to avoid."I told our team before the game that if we could keep the game in the high 60s or low 70s, we might be able to manufacture enough points to have an opportunity," he said. "Vanderbilt is just too much for us to be able to guard."Beginning at the 9:25 mark of the first half, Vanderbilt reeled off a 20-4 run, turning a 24-23 deficit into a 43-28 lead.Neltner, A.J. Ogilvy and Gordon scored four points each during the spurt, which gave Vanderbilt the lead for good.