NASHVILLE, Tenn. — First-year coach Bryce Drew hopes his Vanderbilt Commodores can take some crucial lessons away from their first home win against a Southeastern Conference opponent in six weeks.
Luke Kornet scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as Vanderbilt rallied from an 11-point deficit in beating Texas A&M 72-67 Thursday night.
With the win, the Commodores (13-13, 6-7) snapped a four-game home skid in Southeastern Conference play. They also swept the Aggies after winning at Texas A&M 68-54 on Jan. 31.
“We did something tonight we haven’t done all year,” Drew said. “We came back from a deficit. We were able to get stops late, and it wasn’t easy for us. We had to work to score, we had to work to find different ways to make things happen for us, and they were able to do that tonight.”
Vanderbilt used its 3-point shooting prowess as the SEC’s best team outside the arc to overcome the Aggies’ dominance inside the paint. The Commodores also made sure they got to the free throw line — a lot. They hit 18 of 22 free throws compared to just 10 of 15 for Texas A&M.
Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy wasn’t happy that Tyler Davis only got to the line five times.
“That’s hard for me to understand,” Kennedy said.
Matthew Fisher-Davis scored 14 points off the bench for Vanderbilt, and Joe Toye tied his career-high with 13. Riley LaChance finished with 12.
Texas A&M (13-12, 5-8) announced before tipoff that sophomore guard DJ Hogg will miss the rest of the season with an injured foot. Davis matched his career-best with 25 points , and Robert Williams added 13 points and 13 rebounds as the Aggies outscored Vanderbilt 42-22 inside the paint.
Admon Gilder added 14 points for the Aggies, and Tonny Trocha-Morelos had 10.
Vanderbilt led 35-34 at halftime but never pushed that past five in the second half. The Aggies last led 55-54 with 9:12 left on Davis’ final bucket of the game, though Trocha-Morales tied it at 65 with 4:17 to go on back-to-back buckets. They didn’t hit another field goal.
“I think we wore down too,” Kennedy said. “I thought we were tired, and we need to be a little bit tougher. I thought they made more tough plays in finishing possessions.”
Fisher-Davis hit a jumper with 3:48 left to put Vandy ahead to stay. Kornet got his season-high fifth block on Gilder’s layup with 47 seconds left, and LaChance hit a pair of free throws with 6.3 seconds left to seal the win.
Texas A&M: Kennedy announced before tipoff that the Aggies would be sophomore guard DJ Hogg the rest of the season because of an injured foot. Hogg hurt his foot in a win over Georgia on Jan. 21, missed the next two games and played in the last four. Hogg had been averaging 12 points a game.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores needed this game badly after splitting a two-game road trip and coming off a 72-52 loss at Missouri on Feb. 11. This is the first of three of the next four at Memorial Gym where they came in just 1-4 in league play losing their last four. This also marked the 1,000th game for the men at Memorial , the SEC’s oldest basketball facility.
Toye said it was great to finally win again at home. “We haven’t won in a while here so give the fans something to be happy about,” he said.
Gilder played all 40 minutes for the Aggies for his eighth straight game. Kennedy played eight Aggies with six playing at least 17 minutes or more.
Texas A&M: Hosts Auburn on Saturday afternoon.
Vanderbilt: Hosts No. 21 South Carolina on Saturday night.