GAME NOTES: The Vanderbilt Commodores entertain the Texas A&M Aggies in SEC action on Saturday evening, in what is only the second meeting between the two teams, and the first in more than half a century.
Texas A&M is a solid 15-9 overall this season, and although it is just 5-6 in league play in its first foray as a member of the SEC, it has been playing better of late with wins in two of its last three games. The Aggies hosted Ole Miss on Wednesday night and came away with an impressive 69-67 victory.
Vanderbilt snapped a four-game losing streak last Saturday with a 67-49 win over Arkansas, but it fell right back on its losing ways with a 58-46 setback against Tennessee on Wednesday to drop to 9-14 overall and 3-8 in the SEC. This matchup marks the final leg of a three-game homestand for the Commodores, although Memorial Gym hasn't provided a great home court advantage this season (6-6).
Vanderbilt won the only previous meeting between the two teams, taking a 79-69 decision in Nashville on Dec. 3, 1955.
The Aggies broke a 46-46 tie at the 15:27 mark of the second half against Ole Miss on Wednesday night, and they never surrendered that advantage as they held on for the two-point victory. Leading the way for Texas A&M, which shot 45.8 percent from the field on the night, was Elston Turner, who drained 13- of-20 from the floor (including a career-high seven 3-pointer) on his way to 37 points, just shy of the career-best 40 points he logged on Jan. 12 against Kentucky. Fabyon Harris netted 13 points in the win, albeit on just 5-of-15 from the field, while Ray Turner tallied eight points and 13 boards. A&M is usually a much more modest offensive team, scoring the 10th-most points in the SEC (62.9 ppg), despite ranking fifth in field goal percentage (.440). Fortunately, it is able to make up for it at the defensive end by holding foes below 60 ppg. Elston Turner's most recent outburst allowed him to climb to fourth on the SEC's scoring chart with 16.5 ppg. Harris pours in 11.6 ppg, while Ray Turner (9.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Kourtney Roberson (6.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg) make their presence felt down low.
The Commodores came out of the gate sluggish in their latest clash with Tennessee, falling behind by 12 points at the half, and they could never recover as they went on to lose by that same margin. Not surprisingly, they had a lackluster shooting effort in the 46-point effort, making just 20-of-53 from the field (.377) while going only 3-of-6 from the foul line. Kedren Johnson was the only VU player to reach double figures in the setback with 11 points. Kevin Bright had just three points on 1-of-5 from the field, but he helped out in other areas with 11 rebounds, two blocks and two steals. On the season, Vandy is one of the few teams in the SEC that scores fewer points than A&M. In fact, they rank tied for last in scoring offense with Georgia (59.0 ppg), which all but spoils a strong defensive effort (60.5 ppg). Johnson acts as the top scoring threat on most nights, pouring in 14.1 ppg on 42.5 percent field goal shooting. Rod Odom chips in 9.8 ppg and Kyle Fuller adds 9.5 ppg, but neither shoots better than 40 percent from the floor.
A low-scoring affair should be expected, and expect A&M's more polished scorers to come up with some clutch buckets down the stretch to knock off Vandy on its home floor.
Game Date and Time