Vanderbilt held on to beat Georgia State 86-80

Associated Press
The Associated Press
Vanderbilt held on to beat Georgia State 86-80
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Vanderbilt guard Eric McClellan (1) drives past Georgia State forward Curtis Washington (42) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Freshman Damian Jones and senior Rod Odom each scored 19 points to help Vanderbilt pull away for a season-opening win against visiting Georgia State, 86-80, Tuesday night.

The victory tied Commodores coach Kevin Stallings for most wins as Vanderbilt head coach (278) with Roy Skinner (1961-76).

Odom hit five 3-pointers for the game and sank a pair of free throws with 9.8 seconds for an 84-80 lead. Eric McClellan, a transfer from Tulsa, added 18 points in his debut, including two fouls shots for the final points.

GSU transfer Ryan Harrow, who started 24 games last season for Kentucky, had a game-high 27 points for the Panthers (1-1). R.J. Hunter scored 21 points including three 3-pointers for Georgia State.

Jones hit a jumper and Dai-Jon Parker sank a 3-pointer to push Vanderbilt ahead 78-73. VU's Kyle Fuller then hit a pair of free throws with 45.1 seconds left for the largest lead (80-74) since 8:09 remaining.

Devonta White's two free throws had cut it to 82-80 with 10 seconds remaining for the Panthers, picked as a preseason Sun Belt favorite in several national media outlets. GSU is now 4-28 against Southeastern Conference teams.

Curtis Washington scored seven straight points as GSU built a 46-42 advantage early in the second half, capped by White's pull-up jumper.

McClellan's second 3-pointer put Vanderbilt back ahead 57-54, while Jones blocked a shot on the other end and Shelby Moats' basket stretched it to 59-54. The Commodores took their largest lead with 8:09 left, 64-58, on Odom's third trey and his assist to Moats forced a Panthers timeout.

Georgia State came out hot as four different shooters sank 3-pointers to take a 12-7 lead with just over 4 minutes to play.

Odom hit two 3s for Vanderbilt early, closing it to 12-9. Jones then gave the Commodores a boost off the bench with five straight points including a dunk to launch a 10-2 run for a 20-16 lead.

There were eight lead changes the first half and two times. Harrow hit two free throws, then had a steal and layup to start a 9-2 spurt and put the Panthers ahead 25-22.

But Dai-Jon Parker hit two treys during an 11-2 run that gave Vanderbilt its largest first-half lead at 33-27. Harrow had four points as GSU outscored VU to pull within 35-34 at halftime.

Stallings, in his 15th season at Vanderbilt, is now 14-1 in season-openers.