Taylor leads No. 18 Vanderbilt past LSU, 90-69
John Jenkins overcame a slow start to finish with 17 points for Vanderbilt (21-7, 9-5 Southeastern Conference), which bounced back from its first loss in six games last Tuesday against state rival Tennessee.
Vanderbilt, which shot 54.4 percent (31 of 57), trailed 43-41 at halftime but surged into the lead for good early in the second half with a 14-0 run during which Taylor dunked twice and hit two free throws.
Storm Warren had a career-high 24 points and Ralston Turner added 18 for LSU (11-18, 3-11), which has lost 11 of 12 games.
Andre Stringer scored 10 points for the Tigers, who on Wednesday had snapped a 10-game losing streak with a victory at Mississippi State.
A strong first half put LSU in position to make it two straight wins, but the Tigers wound up looking overmatched by the Commodores, who had five players in double figures, including Lance Gilbourne and Brad Tinsley with 16 each and Festus Ezeli with 15.
Double-digit scoring is the norm for all Vandy starters but Gilbourne, who came in averaging 6.5 points and 6.7 rebounds. He easily eclipsed both averages against LSU, grabbing a season-high 17 rebounds.
Taylor, meanwhile, made his first six field goals. Four were dunks, including a soaring double-pump two-hander on a baseline drive, but he also hit a 3 and a turnaround fade from the baseline as he was fouled.
He didn’t miss until 5 minutes remained and finished 6 of 8, along with 7 of 12 on free throws.
Both teams shot better than 57 percent in a first half loaded with offensive highlights.
Turner gave LSU the early edge when he hit three perimeter jumpers, one from 3-point range, during an 11-0 run that put the Tigers on top 20-13.
Vandy fought back to grab a 28-26 lead on a 5-0 spurt the included Gilbourne’s 3 and Taylor’s fast-break dunk that was set up by Stringer’s turnover.
Turner, who had 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the first half, gave LSU the lead right back with a 3, then Warren followed with a short jumper and a dunk, both set up by Chris Bass, who had five assists in the half.
Warren, who had 18 points in the first half, helped LSU go ahead 43-40 with his short bank shot and a heady assist on a jump pass to Garrett Green under the basket.
LSU opened the second half with Stringer’s tough one-handed driving floater off the glass to go up 45-41, but the Tigers would not score again for the next 4-plus minutes when Vanderbilt, as expected, finally began to assert its dominance.