Riley LaChance poured in 26 points, including 4 of 7 from trifecta, and Saben Lee added 12 with key basket after key basket at the end of the game as the Vanderbilt basketball team defeated LSU, 77-71, before 8,760 fans at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.
The team hits the road tonight with a 6 CT assignment against that team from the eastern part of the state. ESPNU will televise.
Riley was terrific and the awesome freshman Saben was superb in the victory. Both of them sank clutch shot after clutch shot. Jeff Roberson also played well adding 20 points to the mix. Jeff was 7-for-13 from the field and 2-for- 5 from deep range. Jeff also pulled down 6 boards. Riley was 6-for-6 from the stripe and Jeff was 4-for-5. The Commodores moved to 7-12 overall on the season and 2-5 in the SEC. LSU dropped to 11-7 and 2-4. They've got a quality team, so the victory was extremely important.
We're not where we want to be, but a victory gets us going in the right direction. Like this team a lot. Riley and Jeff are playing well. Matthew Fisher-Davis is battling a shoulder injury and it's unknown when he'll return to the lineup. Hopefully, MFD will get back as soon as possible. But the guys are competing hard and just have to chip away at this season and not get caught up in the big picture right now. The team from the east is having a good year at 13-5 and 4-3 in the conference. They've beaten Kentucky at home, 76-65, defeated us at our place, 92-84, defeated A&M 75-62 at home, and just defeated South Carolina, 70-63, on the road. So we have our work cut out for us. They also defeated now No.3 Purdue at the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas, 78-75. They lost to No.1 Nova, 85-76, also in the Bahamas, and lost to 10th ranked North Carolina, 78-73, at home. So this is not unsurmountable. Their leading scorer is 6'7", 241 pound power forward Grant Williams, who averages 16.4 ppg and pulls down 6.3 rebounds. 6'5", 238 forward Admiral Schofield has added 13.2 and 5.8 rebounds. Guard Lamonte Turner averages 10 points per game.
On our side, JRobe leads us in scoring at 15 per game and pulls down 7.4 rebounds. Jeff shoots 87% from the line and is a 40% shooter from 3. Riley averages 11.4, shoots 42% from 3 and is an 81% free throw shooter. MFD averages 11.9, is shooting 33% from 3, and is 87% from the line. Saben averages 11, is 45% from the field, 74% from the line, and 24% from 3. Saben can shoot the 3 pretty well, but he's more like a John Wall-type who can take it to the rim and finish. But Saben can be an effective shooter from downtown. We need some more help from the talented Joe Toye, Payton Willis, who has been playing well lately, Clevon Brown and Djery Baptiste. They're all good players, we just need to put it all together. It's time we do that. Tonight is a major test, so hopefully we can respond and pull off a massive victory. The team is tight, hard working and talented. I see no reason why we can't get this done.
Bryce has excelled on the recruiting front landing the No.6 player in the country, power forward Simisola Shittu (6'9", 220, Vermont Academy, Saxton Rivers, Vermont), the No. 14 player in the country, point guard Darius Garland (6'1", 170, Brentwood Academy, Brentwood, TN.) and the No. 62 ranked player in small forward Aaron Nesmith (6'5", 190, Porter Gaud School, Charleston, S.C.). All 3 are phenomenal. Eric Bossi, lead basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals, has us slightly in the lead for the No.5 ranked player in the country, 6'5", 191 shooting guard Romeo Langford from New Albany, Indiana. We are slightly ahead of Kansas and Indiana in the Romeo sweepstakes. Would be an incredible coup by Bryce and the coaches to land Romeo. No idea when Romeo will decide. The late signing period starts in April, around the middle part, so it may not be until then. If we get Romeo, our team will be loaded next season.
Along with those guys, if we get Romeo, we have 2 big guys who are transfers and are sitting out this year. Matt Ryan is a 6'8", 209 pound redshirt sophomore power forward and Notre Dame transfer, and Yanni Wetzell is a 6'10", 235 pound redshirt sophomore power forward-center and transfer from St. Mary's University in Texas. Yanni is from Aukland, New Zealand and Matt is from Cortlandt Manor, New York. Both will really upgrade our front line. I believe that Djery and Clevon will keep improving and I'm looking forward to seeing 6'10", 234 pound freshman Ejike Obinna keep developing. Ejike shows a lot of potential. He was a 4 star out of high school. He can be a force in the middle in the upcoming years, and i'm hoping he can this year as he progresses, even tonight. Also, like what freshman shooting guard Maxwell Evans can do. He's highly athletic and a skilled player.
So a lot to be excited about and this year still shows promise. A victory tonight would be a major momentum boost for our team.
This Thursday: Complete breakdown of the 2018 Football signing class along with our 2 commits, looks like a superb group with potential for more very good players to join this group.
Next Tuesday, 1-30: A preview of the 2018 Commodore Baseball team with head coach Tim Corbin.