GAME NOTES: The Vanderbilt Commodores will continue their season-long five game homestand on Tuesday night when they welcome the Austin Peay Governors to Memorial Gymnasium.
APSU hasn't been able to get much of a rhythm going this season, experiencing some inconsistency on its way to a 5-5 record. After opening up December with two straight losses to East Tennessee State (80-74) and Samford (85-63), the Governors got back on the winning track at home on Saturday with a 77-71 victory over Liberty.
Meanwhile, Vanderbilt has experienced a few more ups than down on the campaign en route to a 5-3 record. The Commodores have won three of their last four games, including a 69-67 triumph over Marshall on Dec. 5 to improve to 3-0 at Memorial Gymnasium.
Vanderbilt has beaten APSU in 13 out of 14 all-time meetings, most recently during the 2007-08 season (81-67).
The Governors were able to outlast Liberty in their latest game by shooting a lofty 52.1 percent from the field as well as outscoring their opponent from the free-throw line, 21-10. Travis Betran connected on 6-of-11 from the field, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc on his way to a team-high 23 points. Chris Horton was also outstanding with 21 points and 11 rebounds, Will Triggs netted 12 points, Ed Dyson added 10 points, and Damarius Smith got the scorers involved with 12 assists.
Scoring hasn't been an issue for APSU this season, as it nets 75.7 points per game on just shy of 47 percent from the floor, but unfortunately it allows an inflated 79.8 points per game on the other end. An excessive amount of turnovers (16.7 per game) have been a big reason for the scoring disparity. Betran shoots just 34.7 percent from the field but generates enough volume to put up 13.9 points per game. Horton (13.3 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 3.5 rpg) is a strong centerpiece in the paint, while Triggs brings 11.2 points per tilt to the table.
The Commodores established a double-digit lead with under 10 minutes to play in their latest game, but while Marshall cut its deficit to just one on a few occasions, it was never able to overtake the lead. The 'Dores shot 45.1 percent from the field in the victory and were paced by a pair of 15-point efforts from James Siakam and Damian Jones, with Siakam taking advantage of his ample free-throw attempts (9-of-11). Rod Odom was also stellar with 11 points and six rebounds.
On the season, Vanderbilt boasts a rather modest scoring margin (+2.0) despite the fact that it outshoots its opponents from the field, 47.1 percent to 42.4 percent. Much like APSU, Vandy has had issues with turnovers, sporting a -3.7 takeaway margin. Eric McClellan acts as the go-to scoring option with 16.5 points per game, although he's been dreadful from beyond the arc (4-of-27). Odom (13.0 ppg. 5.1 rpg) is the only other player in double figures, although Kyle Fuller (9.8 ppg) and Jones (9.3 ppg) are close.
Vanderbilt isn't the most explosive team, so APSU has a decent shot at keeping this game close thanks to its stellar shooting. In the end though, the Commodores' homecourt advantage will prove to be enough to take this one.
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