Vanderbilt heats up in second half to beat Austin Peay 90-72
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — When Vanderbilt’s top three guards are clicking, the Commodores are tough to beat.
Wednesday was one of those nights.
Aaron Nesmith scored 26 points and freshman point guard Scotty Pippen Jr. added a career-high 21 to give Vanderbilt a 90-72 win over Austin Peay.
Nesmith, the top scorer in the Southeastern Conference and league-leader in 3-pointers, hit four from beyond the arc and Pippen had three.
“(Aaron) is getting shots and he’s doing it in a lot of different ways,” Commodores coach Jerry Stackhouse said. “He’s not hunting them. He’s allowing the game to come to him. I can’t remember one that he really forced. When a guy’s got it going the way he’s got it going, you could take a bad one or two.”
Nesmith, a 6-foot-6 sophomore, hit 10 of 17 from the floor, including 4 of 8 from 3-point range.
“He never misses,” Austin Peay coach Matt Figger said. “He was 17 of 30 (from beyond the arc) going into this game. He’s got size, a picture-perfect jump shot.
I’ve known the kid since he was a freshman in high school because I was at South Carolina when he was at Porter Gaud (High School).”
Saben Lee scored 19 points and led Vanderbilt (3-1) with a career-high nine assists.
Pippen and Nesmith hit consecutive 3-pointers to give the Commodores a 46-42 lead early in the second half.
Jordyn Adams led the Governors with a career-high 25 points, including four 3-pointers. Reginald Gee added 14 points and Terry Taylor had 13 for Austin Peay (1-3), which suffered its third consecutive loss, all coming on the road.
“Whatever my team needed, I was just trying to provide,” Adams said. “It just wasn’t enough tonight.”
Vanderbilt closed the first half with a 6-0 spurt to take a 38-37 lead. Lee’s second-chance layup with two seconds left capped the run as the Governors went the final 3:08 without a basket.
Austin Peay: The Governors fell to 1-17 in the series against the Commodores. ... They were outscored in the paint 44-12. ... The Governors’ last win against an SEC team was in 2012 against Tennessee.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores rebounded from Thursday’s overtime loss at Richmond with a second-half rally against Austin Peay. ... It was the first of three games in six days for the Commodores.
Austin Peay assistant coach Sergio Rouco, who appeared to be upset about a Lee dunk late in the second half, had a short but heated exchange with Stackhouse in the handshake line.
“Saben just had a lapse right there, but that’s something that I’ll correct with my team and not something that anybody else is going to correct with my team,” Stackhouse said. “I’m always going to stick up for my guys. That’s all I told him. I’ll coach my team and you coach yours.”
PIPPEN’S BIG NIGHT
Pippen hit 6 of 9 from the floor in 30:37 of playing time. “I was just getting what the defense gave me,” Pippen said. “Some games it’s coming out and getting my teammates open, but tonight it was scoring.”
Austin Peay hosts Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday.
Vanderbilt hosts South Carolina State (2-2), which shot 65 percent from the floor in its last game, in the Vanderbilt Invitational on Friday.
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