NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—Don’t count Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings among those impressed that his team tied the school record for best start to a season.
He wasn’t happy that the 15th-ranked Commodores had to rally after trailing midway through the second half to hold off pesky Tennessee-Martin for a 92-85 victory Saturday.
“Obviously we’re not too pleased with how we’re playing, especially defensively,” Stallings said. “It’s my job to get that fixed.”
At 12-0, the Commodores have tied the 2003-04 team for the school’s best start.
Earlier this week, Vanderbilt received its highest ranking since 1993. Stallings promptly told his team that it was the nation’s most overrated squad.
“I don’t lie to them,” he said. “My job is to help them get better and tell them the truth.”
After trailing by 13 points in the first half, UT-Martin stormed back in the second half and grabbed a 71-70 lead with 9:24 left.
The teams were tied at 83 when Shan Foster made a 3-pointer with 3:10 left to put Vandy ahead for good. He finished with 16 points.
A.J. Ogilvy scored 21 and Alex Gordon added 15 for the Commodores.
Hudson, the NCAA’s third-leading scorer, had 36 points to lead the Skyhawks (5-8), and Gerald Robinson added 25.
Vanderbilt shot 39.7 percent from the field, the first time this season it has been below 40 percent.
The Skyhawks quickly sensed they were being overlooked by the Commodores.
“Any time an OVC team walks into an SEC opponents’ gym, they might take you lightly,” UT-Martin coach Bret Campbell said. “That’s just human nature. It could have been a different outcome. Disappointed that we didn’t finish, but proud of our guys and their effort.”
UT-Martin went on a 10-0 run to open the second half, trimming Vanderbilt’s lead to 51-49 and prompting Stallings to make five substitutions.
Even when Vanderbilt went ahead 64-56, the Skyhawks stayed in the game behind the scoring of Hudson and Robinson.
Hudson’s 3-pointer pulled UT-Martin within one and a tip-in from Djero Riedewald put the Skyhawks in front 71-70.
Hudson scored seven early points and the Skyhawks took a 26-19 lead with 11:08 left in the first half.
Vanderbilt then reeled off a 15-0 run to go ahead 34-26. In the spurt, Gordon scored eight points, including two 3-pointers, and Foster added two 3s.
At that point, the Commodores had made 12 of 20 shots from the field, including five 3-pointers.
The Commodores twice extended their lead to 13 before halftime. Ogilvy scored 13 points in the first half. Hudson scored 13 in the first half to lead UT-Martin.