NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Andre Walker scored on a layup with 4.1 seconds left, and No. 24 Vanderbilt held off Marquette 77-76 Wednesday night in its first game since moving into the Top 25 this season.
Marquette (9-4) had the ball last. But Darius Johnson-Odom tripped trying to drive to the basket, losing the ball at the buzzer.
The Commodores (10-2) improved to 102-8 in non-conference play at home under coach Kevin Stallings despite leading scorer John Jenkins going 2-of-15 from 3-point range. He finished with 13 points. Jeff Taylor had a team-high 19 points, Brad Tinsley added 15, Festus Ezeli had 12 and Steve Tchiengang 10.
Jimmy Butler led Marquette with 15 points. Darius Johnson-Odom had 14, Dwight Buycks 13, Chris Otule 12 and Vander Blue 10.
This was only the fifth meeting between these programs and the first since 1974 when Marquette beat the Commodores in the NCAA tournament. The Golden Eagles were using the Southeastern Conference team and a hostile environment for a final tuneup before starting Big East play on Saturday morning hosting West Virginia.
Vanderbilt also was a man down with Lance Goulbourne sitting out the second of a two-game suspension by the NCAA for buying campus parking pass through a senior who worked as a manager for the team at the time.
Marquette had its chances, leading 37-34 at halftime and 47-40 three minutes into the second half on a dunk by Otule.
But Tchiengang answered with a 3 for Vanderbilt and ran back downcourt waving his hand at the crowd urging fans to their feet. That got the Commodores going, and Taylor, who hadn't scored since 8:19 left in the first half, dunked with 14:46 to go. He hit a 3-pointer with 13:05 that capped a 15-2 spurt for a 55-49 lead.
Jenkins, who missed his first nine 3-pointers, finally made his 10th to get the crowd back up. He also drew a foul on Johnson-Odom and finished off the four-point play for a 59-53 lead with 12:15 left.
Marquette wouldn't go away and pulled within a point three times before Byucks hit a long jumper to put the Golden Eagles up 76-75 with 19.5 seconds left. Tinsley found Walker in the lane for the bucket to cap his return after missing four games with mononeucleosis, and that set up the final scramble.
Vanderbilt led by as much as 11 in the opening minutes with Taylor scoring early and often with some easy dunks. But Marquette finally got Butler, the Golden Eagles' leading scorer going. Ezeli's jumper made it 29-20 Vanderbilt with 5:28 left when the Golden Eagles answered with an 11-2 spurt during which Butler hit a 3. His jumper tied it at 31 with 2:35 left.
The teams swapped the lead three times, and Johnson-Odom finished off the half with a layup, a 3 from the top of the key and then a free throw in the final 1:53 to put Marquette up 37-34 at halftime.