Vanderbilt faces winless Alcorn State in non-conference finale

·2 min read

Vanderbilt (3-2) will gets its last tune-up before starting Southeastern Conference play when the Commodores host Alcorn State (0-3) in Nashville, Tenn., on Sunday afternoon.

The Commodores trailed by double digits in most of the second half of an 85-65 loss to Davidson on Dec. 23, despite 24 points and three assists from Scotty Pippen Jr.

"We've gotta look ourselves in the mirror and come out ready to play," Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse said. "We just didn't follow the game plan. We were a step slow."

Vanderbilt struggles to find viable options outside of Pippen (22.0 points per game) and Dylan Disu (11.6 points, 9.4 rebounds), the latter of whom had his seventh career double-double (13 points, 11 rebounds) at Davidson.

Pippen ranks second in the country in Ken Pomeroy's "usage rate," which estimates Pippen is responsible for "using" 35.3 percent of the Commodores' possessions. Possessions are "used" via a turnover or a shot in which the shooter doesn't get the offensive rebound.

Sunday's contest might have a more favorable outcome for Vanderbilt, listed as an 18-point favorite over Alcorn State, according to Pomeroy.

Alcorn State was picked fifth of the Southwestern Athletic Conference's 10 teams in the league's preseason poll. On Dec. 13, the Commodores easily disposed of Mississippi Valley State -- picked ninth in that same poll -- by an 84-41 score.

The season hasn't started well for the Braves, who've been blown out by UAB (49 points), Houston (33) and Liberty (43), all coming on the road.

Alcorn State trailed Houston by 10 early in the second half, something from which first-year head coach Landon Bussie took encouragement.

"Excited to see us compete for 40 minutes," Bussie, whose team is being outrebounded by nine boards a game, said. "I believe we are going to be competitive moving forward. We need to become a better rebounding team."

That didn't translate against Liberty, which shot 66 percent against Alcorn State.

The player ahead of Pippen in usage rate is the Braves' Troymain Crosby (43.7 percent). Crosby averages 18.7 points, but just 24.3 minutes per game because of a team-high 12 personal fouls.

Crosby had 24 points and five rebounds against Liberty, marking his second-straight 20-plus point game.

David Pierce III (10.0) is the only other member of the Braves to play all three games and average double-figure scoring.

--Field Level Media

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Arkansas
-358-7.5O 153.5
Vanderbilt
+280+7.5U 153.5