Vanderbilt’s stay in the Top 25 may be a short one if it can’t put together some impressive wins in the remainder of the Maui Invitational this week.
The No. 24 Commodores look to bounce back from their first loss when they take on Chaminade in the second round Tuesday.
After consecutive victories to open the season, Vanderbilt (2-1) lost 67-58 to Cincinnati on Monday in the opening round of this tournament. The Commodores held the Bearcats to 39.7 percent shooting but shot just 27.5 percent themselves, making more free throws (25) than field goals (14).
Jermaine Beal scored a team-leading 16 points to go along with four steals while Jeffery Taylor, who came in averaging 19.5 points, was held to 11.
Vanderbilt also struggled on the boards, getting outrebounded 53-23. It allowed 23 offensive rebounds Monday, and has been outrebounded in all three games this season.
“We talked about rebounding and physicality for two days, we certainly tried to get after it yesterday in practice,” coach Kevin Stallings said. “We didn’t play the game that we have to play in order to win.”
Stallings had been looking for his team to make a statement in its first real competition of the season. Vanderbilt was coming off a 72-70 win over Saint Mary’s in which it blew a 14-point second half lead before escaping when the Gaels missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Instead, the Commodores struggled in their first game as a ranked team in more than a year.
On Monday, Vanderbilt found itself in the Top 25 for the first time since March 17, 2008.
The Commodores did get positive contributions from A.J. Ogilvy, who bounced back after scoring just two points on 1-of-6 shooting in 22 minutes against Saint Mary’s. The center finished with 13 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots Monday.
Getting Ogilvy going could be a key factor in Vanderbilt’s season as well as getting the team back on track. Ogilvy averaged 17.0 points and 6.7 rebounds as a freshman in 2007-08 when the Commodores finished among the best teams in the SEC while reaching the NCAA tournament. He averaged 15.4 points and 7.1 rebounds last season, missing several games because of injuries, which many believed played a big factor in Vanderbilt ultimately missing the NCAA tournament following a 19-11 regular season.
Ogilvy and the Commodores should have an easier time against Chaminade, the Division II hosts of this tournament who lost 79-51 to No. 21 Maryland on Monday in its season opener. Shane Hanson had 14 points and seven rebounds while Steven Bennett added 12 points.
Chaminade, which is in Honolulu on Ohau, threatened early, forcing turnovers on four of Maryland’s first seven possessions, but the Terrapins took a two-point lead with seven minutes remaining in the first half and led the rest of the way.
“That first half we were right there with them, a couple errors toward the end of the half and I think it could have been a little tighter,” coach Matt Mahar said.
Vanderbilt has faced Chaminade twice, winning both games. In the most recent matchup, the Commodores won 96-71 in 1995.