AUBURN, Ala. – The No. 16 Auburn Tigers, (17-4, 6-2) beat the Vanderbilt Commodores (5-15, 0-7) 81-54 Wednesday night to secure their eleventh home win of the season. Jaylin Williams led the Tigers in scoring with 21.
The Tigers suffocating defense held the Commodores to just 27% shooting from the field. Vanderbilt’s dynamic guards Ezra Manjon and Tyren Lawrence were held to a combined 17 points and 3-for-18 and 0-for-4 from three.
Johni Broome continued his run of dominance with his tenth double-double of the season. He totaled 16 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists on excellent efficiency, shooting 7-for-11 from the field and 2-for-2 from deep.
Denver Jones had a season high 19 points in what the Tigers hope to be a breakout game from the guard. “Hitting the threes early really meant a lot," Jones said after the game. “Everyone carries that energy throughout the whole game.” Jones hit three straight threes early in the game and never looked back.
Jaylin Williams matched his 21-point performance from earlier this month against the Commodores in Nashville. “It’s good to see Jaylin Williams play well again tonight,” said coach Bruce Pearl of the Tigers all-time winningest player.
After a hot start, the Tigers struggled offensively and ended the first half shooting just 36% from the field with seven turnovers, but great defense helped them to a ten-point halftime lead. “I thought our half-court defense was outstanding,” said Pearl.
The Tigers had 21 assists on 28 made baskets. Tre Donaldson had five assists and seven rebounds, and Chad Baker-Mazara added 11 points off the bench. The Commodores’ 54 points was the fewest the Tigers have allowed in SEC play since their conference opener against Arkansas. Auburn outrebounded Vanderbilt 45-34, a welcome change after two straight games getting beaten on the boards.
Ven-Allen Lubin led the Commodores with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Apart from Lubin, the Commodores sank only ten shots and shot a combined 22% from the field. Jerry Stackhouse’s team will continue to search for their first conference win.
Following the game, coach Pearl addressed how hard it will be to continue to succeed in the SEC.
“As we look at our schedule, we look across the league, Florida going to Kentucky and beating them… really proud of Todd (Golden).” Pearl continued, speaking about Georgia’s play in their loss to Alabama Wednesday night as well as South Carolina’s win on the road at Tennessee on Tuesday. “We did what we needed to do tonight,” he said. “As we get into the schedule, I can tell you, we’re going to lose some games. But we’re still in this thing.”
Still in it the Tigers are. With their win Wednesday, they join South Carolina at second in the conference behind Alabama with ten games left to play. The first place Crimson Tide will come to town next Wednesday, February 7, but first, the Tigers will travel to Oxford, Mississippi, to take on the Ole Miss Rebels at the Pavilion.