Fresh off a one-point win over Pitt, Vanderbilt seeks a three-game winning streak when it hosts Grambling on Friday night in Nashville, Tenn.
The Commodores (5-4) survived Pitt’s 8-0 run in the final minutes and beat the Panthers 75-74 when guard Tyrin Lawrence hit a pair of foul shots with 1.1 seconds left.
The key to Vandy’s win was taking 20 more shots than Pitt, much of that due to a 39-31 rebounding advantage.
“Teams that take long shots get long rebounds. … We have to have more of the mentality that we have to go out and meet guys, especially guys that want to crash (the backboards),” Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse said after Wednesday’s win.
Forwards Myles Stute and Liam Robbins led the Commodores with 14 points apiece. Robbins, who blocked six shots and grabbed nine rebounds, swatted a potential game-winning shot as time expired.
Those two, along with Lawrence (10.6 ppg) and Jordan Wright (10.1), all average in double figures. Stute has hit a team-best 52.5 percent of his team-leading 59 3-point attempts.
Wright missed Saturday’s win over Wofford with a back injury and returned to score 12 points with six assists and five rebounds vs. Pitt. However, Wright took a hard fall with 4:22 left in Wednesday’s game and left the game with a hip pointer.
Wright’s availability against Grambling isn’t settled, though Stackhouse said Wednesday that he expects him to play.
Grambling (5-3) will play for the first time since a 72-39 home win vs. Incarnate Word on Dec. 3. The Tigers, in their sixth year under coach Donte Jackson, are used to life away from home, having played their five previous games either on the road or at neutral sites.
The Tigers are 1-1 against Power 6 teams this season, having beaten Colorado 83-74 at home before losing at Arizona State. The Colorado win, which came on Nov. 11, provided an unforgettable win for the Tigers.
“There’s nothing like playing in front of your family and friends and being able to compete at a high level,” Jackson said after beating the Buffaloes.
Forward Carte’Are Gordon (14.0 ppg) and guards Cameron Christon (12.4) and Shawndarius Cowart (10.6) lead Grambling in scoring. Gordon, a junior college transfer in his first year at Grambling, leads the team with 8.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks.
–Field Level Media