Longwood (4-6) at (25) Vanderbilt (6-4)
Monday, December 19th, 8:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Gym (14,316) -- Nashville, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: Longwood 3-2, Vanderbilt 3-3. Away Record: Longwood 0-3, Vanderbilt 1-1. Neutral Record: Longwood 1-1, Vanderbilt 2-0. Conference Record: Longwood 0-0, Vanderbilt 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Vanderbilt Commodores have struggled lately, and they welcome the Longwood Lancers to Nashville for what can be described as a must-win non- conference affair.
The Lancers, led by ninth-year head coach Mike Gillian, are 4-6 overall, marking their second-best start to a season since beginning Division I play back in 2004-05. The Lancers have won two of their last three games, including a 110-89 decision over VMI last Monday. However, they have lost all three of their true road affairs thus far.
As for Vanderbilt, it has lost three of its last four games to fall to 6-4 overall, a record that is clearly disappointing considering the lofty preseason expectations. While overtime losses to Xavier and Louisville are excusable, the 61-55 setback to Indiana State in Nashville on Saturday was downright awful. Kevin Stallings has the talent to turn things around and must do so immediately.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between Vanderbilt and Longwood on the hardwood.
Longwood is scoring a solid 76.0 ppg this season, but the team is allowing 82.6 ppg to its opponents. Antwan Carter paces the Lancers with 16.5 ppg on 55.7 percent shooting from the floor, and he is ripping down 8.9 rpg as well. Jeremiah Bowman provides 14.2 ppg for the club, and he has dished out 56 assists to go along with 18 steals, both of which pace Longwood. The third and fourth double-digit scorers on the roster are Tristan Carey and Martiz Washington, as they are scoring 11.5 ppg and 10.6 ppg, respectively. In the 21-point win over VMI last time out, Carey exploded for 30 points, seven rebounds and six assists in 35 minutes of game action. Washington added 20 points in that affair, as he drilled 6-of-8 three-pointers. Bowman registered 19 points and nine assists with zero turnovers for the Lancers, who drilled 20 three-pointers and earned a 45-34 rebounding edge.
For Vanderbilt to get back on track, the duo of John Jenkins and Jeffery Taylor will obviously have to lead the way. Jenkins is netting 20.1 ppg on 41 percent shooting from three-point range, while Taylor, a 51.2 percent shooter from the field, checks in with 17.0 ppg. Brad Tinsley adds 10.3 ppg for the Commodores, who recently welcomed Festus Ezeli back to the fold and need big- time production from the center. Vanderbilt is generating 73.3 ppg while permitting 70.3 ppg to foes, and the 55 points scored against Indiana State marked a season low. The Commodores shot just 38 percent from the field and had six more turnovers than assists. Taylor registered 21 points in the setback, but Jenkins was held to 11 points. Ezeli was a non-factor, registering four points and four rebounds in 22 minutes.
Vanderbilt is far too talented to play as poorly as it did against Indiana State. Expect the Commodores to roll over Longwood.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Vanderbilt 89, Longwood 55
12/19 10:34:14 ET