LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Led by stellar efforts from Kendren Johnson and Rod Odom, the Vanderbilt Commodores took down Texas El-Paso in Sunday’s consolation round of the Old Spice Classic, 73-49.
Johnson dropped 17 points and Odom chipped in 16 to lead the Commodores (2-3) in the effort. Vandy bounced back from a 50-33 loss at the hands of Marist on Friday as well as a 75-62 defeat against Davidson. Vanderbilt’s 73-point effort was much better than its 55.8-point average coming in.
UTEP (1-4) was paced by John Bohannon’s 11 points on the game, but it was not enough to hang with the Commodores and avoid a fourth consecutive loss for the Miners.
After winning the first half 33-17, Vandy came out of the gates in the second half with a 9-2 run. Johnson nailed a 3-pointer with just over seven minutes remaining that gave the Commodores a 21-point advantage and they coasted to the finish line from that point.
Auburn Loses Heartbreaker to Rhode Island
AUBURN - Xavier Munford sent the game into double overtime with a 3-pointer at the buzzer and scored a career-high 33 points on eight treys to lead Rhode Island to a 78-72 win over Auburn for the Rams first win of the season in Auburn Arena on Sunday. Freshman Jordan Price scored a career-high 19 points on 5-of-8 treys to lead Auburn.
The Tigers had a 65-61 lead with 24 seconds to play in the first overtime, but Munford's jumper brought the Rams to within 2 and Noel Johnson had a chance to ice the game with two foul shots with 11 seconds left, but he split the pair. Auburn failed to foul and Munford sank a contested 3-pointer at the buzzer to silence the building.
"A team that shoots 35 percent from the floor and scores 55 a game, that has not cracked 60 in five games, scored (78)," said Barbee. "That's the difference in the game.
"We put ourselves in a chance to win in overtime and then we didn't execute. We were up 3 with 7 seconds to go. We came out of a time out where we say that we're fouling as soon as they cross half court, and we don't foul. There's your game. It would've been two seconds on the clock. We're up 3, and they're shooting two free throws. We didn't execute and it was my veteran group."
Nikola Malesevic, who had 19 points, six rebounds and three steals, for Rhode Island, opened the second overtime with a layup, but Frankie Sullivan's 3-pointer seconds later regained the lead for Auburn at 69-68 with 4:21 t5o play.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Malesevic and Munford then sealed it for Rhode Island (1-5) as the Rams took a 74-69 lead with 59 seconds left. Allen Payne's 3 brought the Tigers to within 74-72 with 41 seconds to play, but Munford and Malesevic iced it at the foul line by making all four free throws.
Auburn (2-4) jumped out to a 22-11 lead just over eight minutes into the game by making seven of its first 10 shots, and the Tigers led 37-32 at the half. The Tigers were in control the whole way until the Rams tied it for the first time at 53 with 7:20 remaining in regulation.
Rhode Island, which lost to Loyola (Md.) 58-54 in overtime on Friday, took its first lead of the game on a Malesevic layup with 4:31 to go.
"Coach told us to look in the mirror and see what we did right in the game or what our role is as a player on the team," said Price. "We just need to look in the mirror and reevaluate ourselves and come back to practice with the mindset of just getting better, and we need to focus more on our defensive sets at the end of the game and whatever our coach is telling us to do. We had a lot of breakdowns towards the end so we just need to focus on that."
Johnson added 13 points on 4-of-6 three-pointers for the Tigers. Former Auburn guard, Andre Malone, added 13 points, eight rebounds and three assists on 3-of-5 three-pointers for Rhode Island.
Auburn, which shot 63.6 percent in the first half, finished 45.2 percent from the floor for the game while Rhode Island shot 40.0 percent. The Tigers went 11-of-27 (.407) from 3-point range while the Rams were 13-of-26.
Rhode Island outscored Auburn 30-13 in points off turnovers as the Tigers committed 19 turnovers to the Rams' 15.
The Tigers play the second game of its six-game home stand against DePaul on Friday at 8 pm Central in the SEC-Big East Challenge on ESPNU.
South Carolina Takes Hoops for Hope Classic Title With Win Over UALR
PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico - The South Carolina men's basketball team (5-1) claimed the 2012 Hoops For Hope Classic Championship on Sunday night in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with a 74-62 victory over Arkansas-Little Rock (4-3). Senior forward Lakeem Jackson collected his second double-double of the season with 10 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.
Jackson was named to the all-tournament team and senior guard LaShay Page was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
Junior guard Brenton Williams led the five Gamecocks who scored double figures in the championship game with 17. Page added 16, freshman forward Mindaugas Kacinas tallied 13 and junior guard Eric Smith posted 12 in the balanced effort. Jackson's 15 rebounds were a game high.
Junior forward Will Neighbour led the ULAR charge with 19 points and five rebounds. Freshman guard John Gillon netted nine points for the Trojans.
South Carolina jumped out to a 12-4 lead through the first six minutes of play, but UALR responded with a 7-2 run through the under-12 minute media timeout to pull within three at 14-11.
Page scored six points after the break and Smith extended the Gamecocks lead to nine at 23-14 with 8:53 on the clock on a made 3 at the shot clock buzzer.
Neighbour would add a lay-up for the Trojans, but a basket from Jackson and two from Williams gave Carolina a solid advantage at 31-16 with just over four minutes remaining before the half.
South Carolina continued to dominate on the offensive end the remainder of the set. Page hit his second 3 of the contest with just over a minute to play, and Kacinas buried a 3 just before the halftime buzzer to push the Gamecock advantage to 39-22. Carolina held a dominating 25-8 rebounding advantage in the half, scoring 13 second chance points.
The Gamecocks picked up where they left off before the break in the second half. Carolina held a 55-28 lead after back-to-back buckets from Williams midway through the half.
Page collected an assist on a floating pass to Kacinas just under nine minutes for a 25-point Carolina lead at 59-34.
Jackson collected his second double-double of the season with his 10th point on a breakaway dunk near the six-minute mark, and the Gamecocks closed out the contest with a 74-62 victory.
South Carolina travels to face St. John's on Thursday in the SEC/BIG EAST Challenge from Queens, N.Y. Game time is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET, with the game televised on ESPNU.