The 18th-ranked Commodores look to bounce back from one of their worst performances of the season Saturday afternoon at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, where they will face a Tigers team trying to avoid a sixth straight home loss.
After Vanderbilt (20-7, 8-5 SEC) scored its fewest points at Memorial Gym in two seasons and was denied a season-best sixth straight win with Tuesday’s 60-51 home loss to Tennessee, Stallings had a chance to watch LSU (11-17, 3-10) end a 10-game skid Wednesday with an 84-82 victory at Mississippi State.
Led by 16 points off the bench from Aaron Dotson and 14 from junior forward Storm Warren, the Tigers overcame a 13-point first-half deficit and scored their most points since a season-opening 87-78 win over Northwestern State.
“I watched the tape (of LSU’s win) again,” Stallings said Thursday. “They played with as much energy and as much purpose and togetherness as you could possibly play with. … They looked like a very, very good basketball team.”
The Commodores did not against the Volunteers, getting “out-toughed and out-physicalled,” according to Stallings, while hitting a season-low 17 field goals and shooting 38.6 percent from the field. They made a season-worst three 3-pointers and scored their fewest points in Nashville since a 50-40 victory over Georgia on Jan. 14, 2009.
Stallings was especially disappointed that his team, which shoots a league-high 25.4 free throws per game, went to the foul line just 19 times, hitting 14. This came two games after the Commodores hit 10 of 14 foul shots in a 64-56 win at Georgia on Feb. 16.
“We’ve got to do a better job getting the ball to better places where we complement our 3-point shooting, instead of depend on it,” Stallings said.
Vanderbilt has been able to rely on John Jenkins, who leads the SEC in 3s (81) and scoring with 19.6 points per game, but the sophomore guard could not find his shooting touch Tuesday when he missed 5 of 6 from long distance and finished with 11 points. He averaged 25.0 points and made 16 of 31 from 3-point range in the previous three games.
“We just weren’t moving like we usually do, we weren’t passing the ball, and we were kind of holding the ball waiting for somebody else to do something,” said Jenkins, who also committed a team-high five turnovers. “That’s something that can easily get fixed and we’ll be alright.”
“I honestly feel like we were tired of losing,” Dotson, a sophomore guard, told the school’s official athletics website. “This whole season has been rough on us because we know that we can play.”
The Tigers, though, are shooting just 38.2 percent while losing their last five in Baton Rouge by an average of 10.8 points. LSU’s last six-game home skid was Jan. 9-Feb. 20, 2010.
Vanderbilt has won three of four on the road and two in a row at LSU.
In the teams’ last meeting, the Commodores won 77-69 in Nashville on Feb. 13, 2010.
Lance Goulbourne had team highs with 18 points and nine rebounds in that contest while Jeffery Taylor added 15 and five. Jenkins missed that game with a stomach illness.
Vanderbilt is 57-48 all-time versus LSU.