Freshman Andre Gordon matched his career high in scoring as the Texas A&M men’s basketball team defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 69-50 at the Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, Tennessee.
With the victory, the Aggies (8-6, 2-1 SEC) picked up their second consecutive SEC win, and have now won five of their last six matchups. Since joining the SEC, the Aggies are 6-2 in their SEC opener. With a loss, Vanderbilt (8-7, 0-2) extends its conference losing streak to 22 in a row.
Vanderbilt was without its top scorer, as star forward Aaron Nesmith missed the contest with a foot stress fracture. Nesmith, who led the SEC in scoring at 23.5 points per game, re-aggravated a foot stress fracture in a Jan. 8 loss to Auburn.
A&M opened the game strong, scoring the first seven points and leading by as much as 16 during the first half. After Vanderbilt was able to cut the score to 12, the Aggies held the Commodores for the final 3:30 of the half to take a 36-20 lead at the break. In the second half, the Aggies expanded their lead, as a three by guard Mark French expanded the Aggie lead to over 30 points. Leading 60-29 with 8:31 left in the game, the Aggies were able to relax down the stretch, walking away with the 69-50 win.
A key factor in the Aggies victory was the dominance of the team on defense. With Nesmith out of the game, the Aggies defense managed to smother the Vanderbilt offense all game, with the Commodores scoring a season low 50 points. The Aggies defense, which entered the contest ranked 22nd nationally in scoring defense, held the Commodores to 30 percent shooting from the floor, including 5-30 from deep. One big contributor the Aggies limited all game was guard Sabien Lee, Vanderbilt’s second leading scorer coming into this matchup at 16.6 points per game. Lee finished with a season low four points off of 1-5 from deep.
On the offensive end, Gordon led the way for the Aggies, matching his career high with 15 points, while also contributing four rebounds and two steals. In the first half, Gordon finished with 11 points off of 4-8 from the floor. Savion Flagg finished with nine points and six rebounds, while also leading the team with four assists. Emanuel Miller finished with six points and seven rebounds, while Wendell Mitchell finished with three points.
Off of the bench, the Aggies had huge contributions from juniors J.J. Chandler and Quenton Jackson. Chandler was second on the team in scoring with 10 points, while Jackson finished with nine points, off of 4-5 shooting, and brought down four rebounds.
In the paint, the Aggies were able to physically dominate Vanderbilt, scoring 40 of their points in the paint compared to Vandy’s 18, while also winning the rebounding battle 38-29. Leading the charge in the paint was forward Josh Nebo, who finished with eight points and seven rebounds and two blocks. Off the bench, freshman Yavuz Gultekin added six points, while Jonathan Aku added three rebounds and one block.
After claiming victory in the short road trip, the Aggies return home next week. A&M continues the early SEC season on Jan. 14 with a matchup against their rival in the LSU Tigers. Tip off against the Tigers is set for 6 p.m. at Reed Arena.