Fisher-Davis scores 33 as Vanderbilt routs Auburn 80-61
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — First-year Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew used the break for finals to tweak the offense to better suit his Commodores’ shooting skills, and junior guard Matthew Fisher-Davis certainly is taking advantage.
Fisher-Davis scored a career-high 33 points with a career-best seven 3-pointers made as Vanderbilt routed the young Auburn Tigers 80-61 Wednesday night in the Commodores’ Southeastern Conference home opener.
“I wish I could take credit for his 33 tonight, but I can’t,” Drew said. “That’s his hard work and his approach that he’s been very focused coming into these games.”
Fisher-Davis scored 17 straight in the span of 4 minutes 16 seconds, his last a 3-pointer that put them up 24-4 with 12:34 left in the first half. The junior guard checked out with 2:56 left having hit 11 of 20 from the floor and 7 of 14 beyond the arc.
“I just kept letting it fly,” Fisher-Davis said. “I trust my shot. I don’t know. I was more focused on us getting stops and just getting out pushing the lead out right then myself.”
Vanderbilt (8-6, 2-0) never trailed in beating the Tigers for its 13th straight victory in this series.
Luke Kornet added 10 points and 11 rebounds for Vanderbilt. Kornet said it’s easy to look for the hot shooter on a team with unselfish players, especially in transition.
“The ball finds the right person, especially when we know someone like Matt who’s on fire early,” Kornet said. “He’s the first person you’re looking to because we trust he’s going to knock it down.”
Auburn (10-4, 0-2) lost its second straight overall. Jared Harper scored 19 points, Mustapha Heron added 13 and Danjel Purifoy had 10.
Starting four freshmen, Auburn coach Bruce Pearl came in with wins over Texas Tech, Oklahoma and UConn this season. They had little answer for the SEC’s best 3-point shooters even though Auburn came in holding opponents to 29.6 percent shooting beyond the arc.
Pearl made his disappointment very clear after the game, telling reporters they likely heard him talking to his very young locker room. He credited Vanderbilt with playing great but wasn’t happy his Tigers didn’t bother the Commodores as much as he thought they could.
“At the beginning, they jumped on us and took control of the game so quickly we were out of synch the whole way,” Pearl said.
The Commodores, who hit 16 of 32 beyond the arc in winning at LSU last week, kept at it by knocking down 14 of 33 (42.4 percent). Auburn came in second in the league making 9.1 3s per game but couldn’t match Vanderbilt. The Tigers went 6 of 21 beyond the arc (28.6 percent).
THE BIG PICTURE
Auburn: The Tigers’ youth was exposed in their first trip to Memorial Gym where the team benches are on the end lines and not the sidelines. They came in averaging 80.4 points per game, fourth in the SEC. The Tigers finished with a season-low in points. They forced Vandy into 14 turnovers but were outscored 16-15 in points off mistakes.
Vanderbilt: Fisher-Davis has strung together his three highest-scoring games over the past three games for the Commodores. The junior guard came into this game sixth in the SEC in scoring, second in the league averaging 2.8 3s made per game and fourth shooting 42.5 percent beyond the arc. If Fisher-Davis keeps this up, he can really ease first-year coach Bryce Drew’s first season in the SEC. Fisher-Davis also grabbed seven rebounds and two steals. He turned in the best-scoring game for Vanderbilt since A.J. Ogilvy scored 33 against LSU on March 3, 2009.
“I’ve coached against Homer. I’ve coached against Scott,” Pearl said of the Vanderbilt coach’s father and brother. “I don’t think I ever got beat as bad as Bryce just beat me.”
The Commodores started a pilot program Wednesday night with 12 seats on the end line opposite the team bench against Auburn, the first of four such games for the men with four more planned for the women’s team this season. The seats are available only to members of the National Commodore Club.
Auburn: Hosts Mississippi on Saturday.
Vanderbilt: Visits Alabama on Saturday night.