NASHVILLE, Tenn., Sporting Alert – Sophomore forward Jeff Roberson scored a career-high 20 points, and Vanderbilt took down No. 8 Texas A&M 77-60 in a college basketball Southeastern Conference contest on Thursday night.
Roberson, who is averaging 9.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game this season, shot 80 percent from the floor on Thursday night on 8 for 10 shooting, while making three of his four 3-pointers.
Wade Baldwin IV had 17 points and eight assists, Luke Kornet finished with 14 and nine rebounds, while Damian Jones collected his 5th double-double of the year with 13 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks for the Commodores (13-9, 5-4 SEC), who were securing their first win over a ranked team in four years after going 0-13 against ranked opponents in previous meetings.
Things were apparently said after losing 72-58 to Texas in a Big 12/SEC Challenge matchup.
“We met as a group and kind of regrouped as a team and got some things off our chest that we needed to say and sorted out our problems as a team in a group meeting,” Baldwin said.
“That was a great three days of preparation we had in practice and with that meeting, and it showed up in today’s game.”
It was the first time Vanderbilt was defeating a ranked team since upsetting No. 1 Kentucky 71-64 in the Southeastern Conference tournament final on Mar 11, 2012.
Vanderbilt, which shot 50.8 percent from the field, also tied its season high with 13 3-pointers, while shooting 44.8 percent from long-range.
“I’m very disappointed that (my players) have had to listen to and hear and probably unnecessarily read a lot of the negativity that’s been said about us and I’m happy they had a night like tonight,” Commodores coach Kevin Stallings said.
“Maybe there were some clearing of minds and clearing of hearts this week. We played like a basketball team that was hungry, we played like a basketball team that was together.”
Texas A&M was led by Tonny Trocha-Morelos, who scored 13 points off the bench.
Alex Caruso shot 5 for 7 from the floor and added 11 points, four assists and four steals, while Danuel House finished with 10 points and five rebounds for the Aggies (18-4, 7-2) who lost for the second time in three games.
Meanwhile, Texas A&M senior guard Jalen Jones, who is averaging 16.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game this season, and had scored in double figures in 12 straight games before Thursday night, went cold against Vanderbilt after going 1 for 13 from the floor for four points.
The Commodores, who rushed off to a 14-1 lead in the first half, led 40-33 at halftime, and then held the Aggies to just three points — all from the free throw line — over the final 3:30, while scoring 11 points during that period to pull away for the win.
After the slow start, Texas A&M managed to tie the game at 23-23 before taking a 28-24 lead with 6:52 left in the first half.
However, back-to-back three-pointers from Matthew Fisher-Davis and Baldwin IV restored the lead for Vanderbilt, which it never surrendered afterwards.
The Commodores opened the second half with a 9-0 run and outscored the Aggies 13-2 in the first five minutes to start the second.
“We ran into a very hungry, aggressive Vanderbilt team,” Aggies coach Billy Kennedy said. “I thought the Baldwin kid was really good at the point guard.
“He dictated the game on both ends of the floor.”
Texas A&M, next time out, will play host to No. 25 South Carolina on Saturday, with Vanderbilt making the trip to Mississippi over the weekend as well.
AP Top 25 Scores
Thursday, February 4
VANDERBILT 77, No. 8 TEXAS A&M 60
No. 16 OREGON 76, COLORADO 56