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Vanderbilt in search of long-range shooting eye vs. SE Louisiana

Nov 23, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores forward Liam Robbins (21) blocks the shot of St. Mary's Gaels guard Logan Johnson (0) during the first half at Anaheim Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Vanderbilt will look to get above the break-even mark in its final non-conference game when it faces visiting Southeastern Louisiana on Friday night at Nashville, Tenn.

The Commodores (6-6), who had never lost to a Southwestern Athletic Conference foe until a 64-62 home defeat to Grambling State on Dec. 9, nearly lost a second in their most recent game.

With Vanderbilt clinging to a one-point lead, Jordan Wright hit a 3-pointer with 44 seconds remaining as the Commodores took control in a 70-62 win over Alabama A&M. Vandy’s Liam Robbins scored 14 points, while Wright and Ezra Manjon added 12 each.

Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse blamed his team’s inability to pull away on long-distance shooting woes. The Commodores are shooting 32.8 percent from 3-point range this season but were 23.5 percent from distance against Alabama A&M and 11.1 percent in the second half.

“We’re a 3-point-shooting team,” Stackhouse said. “If we make the shots we’re capable of, we probably blow this game open. But the fact that we didn’t, we had to grind and work the game more than we wanted to.”

Robbins has not been much of a threat from distance, but he does shoot a team-best 53.1 percent overall and played just 14 minutes against Alabama A&M despite having just one foul.

Robbins has scored in double figures in eight straight games and leads the team in rebounding (5.4 per game) and ranks seventh in the country in blocks (2.8).

Southeastern Louisiana (6-7) hopes to put together consecutive wins for the first time this season after an 80-62 victory over Southern on Dec. 21. The Lions won despite the absence of leading scorer Christian Agnew (12.1 points).

In his absence, guard Roger McFarlane had a game-high 20 points, including a 4-of-5 showing from 3-point range. Boogie Anderson added 15 points for the Lions, who had 20 assists to 14 turnovers.

“I thought we did a great job of sharing the ball tonight,” Southeastern Louisiana coach David Kiefer said. “Guys were making the extra pass and hunting the assist.”

This will be Southeastern Louisiana’s first game this season against a Power 5 squad. Three of the Lions’ wins have come against non-Division I opponents.

Southeastern Louisiana is allowing Division I opponents to hit 55 percent of their 2-point shots, which ranks 330th in the country, according to kenpom.com.

Robbins has connected on 62.3 percent of his 2-point attempts for Vanderbilt.

–Field Level Media

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