Vanderbilt hopes to shake off its first loss of the season when it hosts Radford at Nashville’s Memorial Gymnasium on Saturday evening.
The Commodores (2-1) looked listless in the first half of a 78-67 home loss to Richmond on Wednesday, trailing 45-21 at the break.
Vanderbilt, led by Scotty Pippen Jr.’s 25 points, played better in the second half and got within single digits of the Spiders.
Afterward, Pippen admitted the Commodores played less than their best out of the gate.
“I think we weren’t playing tough,” Pippen said Wednesday. “(Richmond) came out and were able to run whatever they wanted to run and weren’t on our principles. And then offensively, things weren’t going for us in the first half.
“We can’t let that dictate our defense and I feel like that’s what we did (Wednesday).”
Vanderbilt was playing without a pair of starters in D.J. Harvey and Clevon Brown, as well as freshman scholarship reserve Myles Stute.
The school described the trio’s status as simply “unavailable” for both the Richmond and Mississippi Valley State games. However, Vanderbilt had four games canceled prior to Sunday’s contest with MVSU as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak.
It’s unknown whether any will return for Saturday.
Who’ll coach is also a question.
Coach Jerry Stackhouse will be away from the team following the death of his father. Neither Vanderbilt nor Stackhouse have issued a statement on who will guide the team Saturday.
Pippen (20.3 ppg) and Dylan Disu (11.0) are the only two double-figure scorers on a team averaging 76.0 points.
Vanderbilt has helped itself by canning 87.7 percent of its 57 foul shots this season.
Radford (3-4) enters on a three-game winning streak after wins over Division II Mars Hill and back-to-back victories over Longwood.
The first win over Longwood was a one-point victory that seems to have given the young Highlanders confidence heading into the second, which was a nine-point win on Tuesday. Radford came from 14 points down to win that one.
“(Longwood’s) defensive intensity really put us on our heels but we were able to fight back,” Radford coach Mike Jones said following Wednesday’s victory. “I thought we came out with great intensity for the first five minutes of the second half and put a lot of pressure on them.”
Fah’Mir Ali (11.1) leads the Highlanders in scoring.
Eight Highlanders average double-digit minutes, including Chyree Walker (4.4 ppg), who was the team’s leading returning scorer (3.1 ppg last year) heading into this season.
–Field Level Media