Vanderbilt, after a rough start to its season, looks to start a winning streak when it faces UNC Greensboro in Nashville on Tuesday night.
The Commodores (1-1), a heavy favorite in their season opener against Presbyterian on Nov. 7, trailed by 15 points in the second half before losing 68-62. The Blue Hose were picked last in the Big South’s preseason poll.
On Friday, Vanderbilt followed that by knocking off South Carolina Upstate — picked sixth in the Big South — by a 74-67 score, but not before trailing 31-27 at halftime.
“We had some turnovers early, but I thought we really settled down and played some really good basketball,” Commodores coach Jerry Stackhouse said.
Vanderbilt’s strength was expected to be the backcourt of Ezra Manjon and Tyrin Lawrence. Manjon, the Commodores’ leading scorer at 17.5 points per game, has performed as expected. But Lawrence — a coaches’ second-team preseason All-Southeastern Conference pick — has yet to play due to injury.
Neither has Notre Dame transfer Ven-Allen Lubin, who was expected to start in the frontcourt, or key reserve Lee Dort. Both are also out with injuries.
South Dakota transfer Tasos Kamateros (14.5 ppg) has seen increased playing time in their absence. He came off the bench to toss in a team-high 21 points on Friday.
UNC Greensboro (1-0) beat North Carolina A&T 94-78 in its opener on Friday as Donovan Atwell scored a career-high 18 points. The Spartans shot 15 of 29 from 3-point range.
Keyshawn Langley (12 points, seven rebounds), Kobe Langley (11 points, 10 assists) and Mikeal Brown-Jones (14 points, 13 rebounds) also had big games for UNC Greensboro.
The Langley twins are in their fifth seasons (all at UNC Greensboro) while Brown-Jones, who transferred from VCU two seasons ago, is in his fourth college campaign.
“We scored pretty well last year. We (can score) even better this year,” coach Mike Jones told the Greensboro News & Record before the opener. “But we were lights out defensively last year. We’re not quite as good this year, and that’s where the bulk of the work has to come over the next couple of months.”
–Field Level Media
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