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Vandy, Fresno State aim to rebound in Wooden third-place game

Sportsnaut
Nov 23, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores guard Jordan Wright (4) moves to the basket against St. Mary's Gaels guard Leemet Bockler (23) during the second half at Anaheim Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse knew it would be a tough chore to beat Saint Mary’s on the opening day of the Wooden Legacy, so he and his staff also put in ample time studying Fresno State.

That preparation could come in handy on Thursday night as the Commodores (2-3) will indeed be facing the Bulldogs (1-4) in the consolation game at Anaheim, Calif.

Vanderbilt fell 75-65 to unbeaten Saint Mary’s on Wednesday night. Fresno State lost 62-57 to Washington.

“We’ve scouted them,” Stackhouse said of Fresno State after the loss to the Gaels. “We knew that we could possibly play them. … We just have to dust ourselves off, obviously disappointed with tonight’s loss, but it’s a quick turnaround.”

Jordan Wright scored a season-high 22 points, but the Commodores made just 39.7 percent of their shots.

Defensive matchups also were a problem as Saint Mary’s shot 56.9 percent from the field and had three players combine for 58 points.

“We ran into a veteran team with guys that have been playing together for a long time and I think that was the advantage tonight,” Stackhouse said.

Fresno State has dropped four consecutive games and coach Justin Hutson was disturbed by his squad’s 21 turnovers against Washington.

“I wouldn’t say I’m surprised, I would say disappointed,” Hutson said. “We have to work on it because most of them were unforced. Dribbling down, running people over, throwing the ball in the high post to the other team. You’re not going to win games that way.”

The Bulldogs received a solid game from Isaih Moore, a senior who had 15 points and a season-high 13 rebounds. Moore is the only Fresno State player scoring in double digits (13.2 points per game) and also is the team’s leading rebounder at eight boards per game.

“The last two games he’s been really good,” Hutson said of Moore, who is at the fourth school of his college career. “These last two games he’s been rebounding, he’s been defending and he’s definitely a heck of a talent. You want to win the games for sure, but he has defended and rebounded a lot better than he did the previous three games. Somehow, he’s decided he wants to do what it takes to win.”

The Thursday game will be the first meeting between Fresno State and Vanderbilt.

–Field Level Media