Vanderbilt and Alabama A&M will both be looking for the gift of victory when they square off Thursday night in a nonconference game at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, Tenn.
The Commodores (5-6) have dropped their last two games, including a 70-66 loss to North Carolina State on Tuesday in the Legends of Basketball Showcase in Chicago.
The good news for Vanderbilt is that it is 6-0 all-time against the Bulldogs. The challenge is finding the ability to close out a game having lost five times by 10 points or fewer, with its last three defeats coming by five or less.
“We got confidence that we can play with anybody,” Vanderbilt head coach Jerry Stackhouse told the Tennessean. “We know that we can play with anybody. That’s not the question.
“That’s the question, can we have the discipline and have the wherewithal to finish out games.”
Stackhouse also noted that it comes down to learning how to win.
“You learn how to win by going out and executing and doing the things that you know how to do in pressure situations,” Stackhouse said.
Myles Stute is Vanderbilt’s leading scorer at 12.5 points per outing and has knocked down 37 of the team’s 87 3-pointers this season. Liam Robbins is averaging 12.1, second on the team.
Alabama A&M (4-7) is coming off a 68-47 loss to Illinois on the road Saturday, and the game against Vanderbilt marks its second of three consecutive games against Power 5 opponents.
Garrett Hicks leads the Bulldogs at 16.4 points per game, connecting on 32 3-pointers. Dailin Smith (12.5 ppg) and Messiah Thompson (10.2) are also averaging more than 10 points per outing.
Hicks, a senior guard, came into the year counted on to be a leader and has embraced that role.
“You talk about Garrett, that’s my Steph Curry,” first-year head coach Otis Hughley Jr. said during a media day interview ahead of the season. “We have enough pieces to complement him. You can’t just target him defensively.”
The Aggies are searching for their first road win of the year, going 0-2 so far away from home, while Vanderbilt is looking to get above the .500 mark at home. The Commodores are 3-3.
–Field Level Media