Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Game Recap: Cornell 55, Vanderbilt 66











NASHVILLE, TENN. — Kyle Fuller scored 17 points to lead Vanderbilt to a 66-55 victory over Cornell on Monday night.

Kedren Johnson added 15 points as the Commodores (5-4) staved off a second-half comeback by the Big Red (4-6).

Fuller and Johnson combined for the team’s first 17 points and Vanderbilt led by as much as 19, 33-14, in the first half.

But when Johnson, Vanderbilt’s leading scorer this season, went to the bench with his fourth foul 58 seconds into the second half, Cornell capitalized. The Big Red ripped off a 14-2 run and cut the deficit to 40-38 on consecutive layups from Eitan Chermerinski with 14:17 left.

Cornell missed its next five shots — all 3-pointers — and Vanderbilt responded with a 12-2 run to take an insurmountable 12-point lead.

Shonn Miller scored 13 and Chermerinski had 10 for the Big Red, who made just 18 of 60 shots (30 percent).

A layup by Johnathan Gray gave Cornell a 7-6 lead just more than three minutes in. Vanderbilt jumped in front for good on Fuller’s second 3-pointer. Then Vanderbilt stormed ahead with a 26-6 run over the next 11 minutes. The massive flurry included spurts of 11-0 and 10-0.

Cornell made just two baskets during a 14-minute stretch and fell behind 32-13 with 5:11 left in the half. The Big Red were playing for the first time since Dec. 1 after getting two weeks off for exams.

The rust showed as they shot 17.9 percent (5 of 28) from 3-point range. Cornell relied too much on the long ball, especially after closing the gap.

Johnson picked up his fourth foul less than a minute into the second half and went to the bench. Cornell turned up the full-court pressure and started attacking the basket. Chermerinski, a 6-foot-8 forward, scored eight points during a 14-2 run. His uncontested layup with 14:17 left cut the deficit to 40-38.

Cornell then went back to perimeter shooting but, with Vanderbilt switching to a zone defense, went cold from the outside. Vanderbilt answered with a 12-2 run, with eight points from Odom and six from Fuller. A rare five-point possession ended the spurt. As Odom sank his third 3-pointer, Fuller was fouled while setting his screen. He made both free throws to push the lead to 52-40 with 9:59 left.

Cornell made one last run, pulling within seven with less than 3 minutes left. Johnson answered with a three-point play. He drained a running jumper and converted the free throw for his first points since scoring 12 in the first half.

Vanderbilt received just two points from its reserves. Dai-Jon Parker accounted for the bench’s only basket with a transition layup in the last 30 seconds. Parker was playing his first game of the season after serving an eight-game suspension for a violation of non-academic team rules.

The sophomore shooting guard played a career-high 28 minutes to help fill Johnson’s void. His defense helped assure Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings of his 181st win at Memorial Gymnasium. Stallings, in his 14th year, is tied with Roy Skinner for the most home wins at Vanderbilt.




The story was supposed to be the return of one sophomore guard, but the absence of another resulted in some nervous moments forVanderbilt on Monday night.

Point guard and leading scorer Kedren Johnson watched most of the second half from the bench with four fouls and played only 18 minutes as the Commodores hung on to beat Cornell 66-55 at Memorial Gym.

“We had to dig in,” Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. “We really got out of sorts when Kedren was out for a long period of time, but in the long-term sense, I’m kind of glad we had a game like this because I think this will help us.”

Vanderbilt led by 19 in the first half and was up 38-24 in the opening minute of the second when Johnson took a seat after a blocking foul with 19:02 to go.

Cornell (4-6) then flustered the Commodores (5-4) with its press and made a series of layups during a 14-2 run to get within two, but the Big Red never led. Two 3-pointers from Rod Odom, including one on a five-point possession when Kyle Fuller drew a foul during Odom’s shot, helped push the margin to 52-40.

“Kedren is a big asset to our team, so when he’s down, it hurts,” said Fuller, whose 17 points led four Commodores in double figures. “We have to learn to adapt. It didn’t work at first, but then we started playing with each other, talking more and then really started buckling down and making points and big plays.”

When Johnson, who finished with 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting, returned with 7:11 left, Vanderbilt had a 54-45 cushion, enough breathing room to salvage its third consecutive win. Shonn Miller had 13 points for Cornell.

Dai-Jon Parker joined Vanderbilt’s lineup for the first time this season and had two points in 28 minutes off the bench. Parker, who was suspended by Stallings for eight games and two exhibitions for a non-academic violation of team rules, was budgeted to play 15-20 minutes with a sore hip but was needed more when Johnson went out.

“Once I’d seen Kedren getting little tic-tac fouls there, I was thinking I might have this opportunity,” Parker said.

Added Stallings: “(Johnson) put us in a tough spot tonight, but we played without our best player for 22 minutes and were able to find a way to win. And I’m sure he’s kicking himself in the butt because he couldn’t miss. … He was on fire. So that’s kind of what you get for not playing smart.”

The Commodores shot 51.1 from the field to overcome 15 turnovers. Cornell shot 30 percent from the field and an abysmal 17.9 percent (5-of-28) from 3-point range.

“We were able to force some turnovers from (the press) and get some stops in the halfcourt and get out in transition some,” Cornell guard and Ensworth graduate Miles Asafo-Adjei said. “Something we do well on most nights is make 3s, but tonight we couldn’t seem to find the basket.”

Stallings matched Roy Skinner’s record for the most coaching wins at Memorial Gym with 181. Stallings got there in 229 games, seven more than Skinner required.

Just a fraction of an announced crowd of 9,716 was actually in attendance with students gone for winter break and an 8 p.m. tip-off going up against the Titans on Monday Night Football. Vanderbilt meets Middle Tennessee State at 8 p.m. Friday at Bridgestone Arena on ESPNU.





NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Kyle Fuller scored 17 points to lead Vanderbilt to a 66-55 victory over Cornell on Monday night. 

Kedren Johnson added 15 points as the Commodores (5-4) staved off a second-half comeback by the Big Red (4-6). 

Fuller and Johnson combined for the team's first 17 points and Vanderbilt led by as much as 19, 33-14, in the first half. 

But when Johnson, Vanderbilt's leading scorer this season, went to the bench with his fourth foul 58 seconds into the second half, Cornell capitalized. The Big Red ripped off a 14-2 run and cut the deficit to 40-38 on consecutive layups from Eitan Chermerinski with 14:17 left. 

Cornell missed its next five shots -- all 3-pointers -- and Vanderbilt responded with a 12-2 run to take an insurmountable 12-point lead. 

Shonn Miller scored 13 and Chermerinski had 10 for the Big Red, who made just 18 of 60 shots (30 percent). 

A layup by Johnathan Gray gave Cornell a 7-6 lead just more than three minutes in. Vanderbilt jumped in front for good on Fuller's second 3-pointer. Then Vanderbilt stormed ahead with a 26-6 run over the next 11 minutes. The massive flurry included spurts of 11-0 and 10-0. 

Cornell made just two baskets during a 14-minute stretch and fell behind 32-13 with 5:11 left in the half. The Big Red were playing for the first time since Dec. 1 after getting two weeks off for exams. 

The rust showed as they shot 17.9 percent (5 of 28) from 3-point range. Cornell relied too much on the long ball, especially after closing the gap. 

Johnson picked up his fourth foul less than a minute into the second half and went to the bench. Cornell turned up the full-court pressure and started attacking the basket. Chermerinski, a 6-foot-8 forward, scored eight points during a 14-2 run. His uncontested layup with 14:17 left cut the deficit to 40-38. 

Cornell then went back to perimeter shooting but, with Vanderbilt switching to a zone defense, went cold from the outside. Vanderbilt answered with a 12-2 run, with eight points from Odom and six from Fuller. A rare five-point possession ended the spurt. As Odom sank his third 3-pointer, Fuller was fouled while setting his screen. He made both free throws to push the lead to 52-40 with 9:59 left. 

Cornell made one last run, pulling within seven with less than 3 minutes left. Johnson answered with a three-point play. He drained a running jumper and converted the free throw for his first points since scoring 12 in the first half. 

Vanderbilt received just two points from its reserves. Dai-Jon Parker accounted for the bench's only basket with a transition layup in the last 30 seconds. Parker was playing his first game of the season after serving an eight-game suspension for a violation of non-academic team rules. 

The sophomore shooting guard played a career-high 28 minutes to help fill Johnson's void. His defense helped assure Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings of his 181st win at Memorial Gymnasium. Stallings, in his 14th year, is tied with Roy Skinner for the most home wins at Vanderbilt.


- The win makes Vanderbilt 3-0 all-time versus Cornell. Head Coach Kevin Stallings is 1-0 all-time versus the Big Red. Stallings is now 266-163 at Vanderbilt and 389-226 overall.

- Stallings registered his 181st career victory at Memorial Gym, which ties him with legendary coach Roy Skinner for the most in program history.

- The Commodores are now 3-1 at Memorial Gym this season.

- Vanderbilt made a three-pointer for the 841st game in a row, which ranks second in the nation behind UNLV. VU has made a three in every game since the line's inception in the 1986-87 season.

- Sophomore Dai-Jon Parker made his season debut after missing the first eight games of the season.

- Kedren Johnson scored 15 points. He has scored in double-figures in all but one game this season, including the last five games.

- Kyle Fuller scored 17 points. It marked the sixth time this season he has reached double-figures.

- Rod Odom scored 13 points, which marked the fourth time this season he has scored double-digits. He tied a season-high with seven rebounds.

- Josh Henderson's 11 points marks the second-straight game in which he scored 10 or more points.

- Sheldon Jeter had a career-high two blocked shots.

- Four players (Fuller, Henderson, Johnson and Odom) scored in double-figures in a single game for the first time this season.

- The Commodores shot 51.1% from the floor for the game, its second straight game above 50% from the field. VU held Cornell to only 30% from the floor and 17.9% from three.

- Vanderbilt moved to 4-0 on the season when outrebounding their opponent. The Commodores outrebounded the Big Red, 37-36, although Cornell outrebounded Vanderbilt, 13-5, on the offensive glass.

- VU was 50% from three on the night (10-20).




NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Down 19 points in the first half at Vanderbilt on Monday night, Cornell fought to come as close as two points in the second half but could not finish off the comeback.

The Commodores, ahead just 40-38 midway through the second half after leading 32-13 earlier, pulled away from the Big Red once again and held on for a 66-55 victory at Memorial Gymnasium in front of 9,716 fans.

Cornell (4-6) was cold from downtown all night, sinking just five of 28 three-point attempts. Vanderbilt (5-4), though, was red hot, nailing six of 11 at one point in the first half and finishing with 10 three pointers on 20 attempts at the end of the night.

The Big Red had its chances for the comeback as it closed the first half on an 11-4 run and opened the second with an 8-2 run as well. Vanderbilt's poor free-throw shooting (10 of 19) helped keep things close, and the Cornell defense made things even closer when it dominated the early portion of the second half. The Big Red forced 15 total turnovers and scored 15 points off them.

Shonn Miller had his second consecutive double-double, picking up 13 points and a career-high 15 rebounds to lead the Big Red in both categories. He also added two blocks. Eitan Chemerinski was the Big Red's next highest scorer, reaching double figures with 10.

Miles Asafo-Adjei, playing in front of a hometown crowd that included his parents and sisters, had three assists, two steals, two rebounds and a point. Dwight Tarwater, from nearby Knoxville, had three points in seven minutes with family and friends watching as well.

Playing for the first time since a Dec. 1 win against Colgate, the Big Red may have shown some rust early in the first half.

Despite taking a very early 5-4 lead on a three-pointer by Josh Figini, Cornell allowed Vanderbilt to go on an 11-0 run shortly after that and forced a Cornell timeout with a 17-7 lead.

The Commodores' offense was just heating up, though, as it caught fire from beyond the arc and took a 25-10 lead at the media timeout with under eight minutes left in the first half. Leading scorer Kedren Johnson had 12 points at that stage including a perfect 3 of 3 from downtown.

Vanderbilt's lead was as large as 19 points during the first 20 minutes, though the Big Red closed the half strong.

Shonn Miller got involved in the scoring, completing an athletic play with a beautiful tip-in, slashing to the basket for a layup and added three free throws to lead the team with seven points at the half. Gilal Cancer also had a jumper with four seconds left in the half to complete a 11-4 Big Red run and cut the lead to 36-24 in favor of the home team.

The second half started very well for the Big Red as it went on an 8-0 run early in the period to cut Vanderbilt's lead to 38-32. Miller again was a factor, blocking two shots that led directly to Cornell points. Eitan Chemerinski had a transition layup and two free throws during the run that necessitated a Vanderbilt timeout.

Cornell was not halted by that timeout, though, scoring the game's next six points as Chemerinski took charge on offense and took a charge on defense. Cornell got within two points before the Commodores scored seven straight to regain a nine-point advantage with 10:17 left in the contest.

Kyle Fuller converted what might have been the sequence of the game shortly after that, nailing a three-pointer while a teammate was fouled away from the ball. Fuller hit both free throws to finish a five-point possession for the Commodores and make it a 52-40 advantage. Cornell never got closer than seven after that.

Vanderbilt now leads the all-time series between the two teams 3-0 – with all three games in Nashville – and Cornell falls to 3-10 against Southeastern Conference opposition.

The Big Red will be back on the court Wednesday night as it travels to face No. 1 Duke. Cornell and the Blue Devils will play at 7 p.m. on ESPNU.


Vanderbilt nearly let a big lead slip away, but composed itself to beat Cornell, 66-55, at Memorial Gym on Monday night. VandySports.com's Chris Lee has the highlights, lowlights, and everything in between.

Turning point:
VU led to 32-13 when Kyle Fuller hit a lay-up with 5:10 left in the first half. It looked like VU was off and running to an easy win, but Johnson picked up his third foul with around five minutes left in the first half, and his fourth, just 58 seconds into the second half. Eventually, the lead shrunk to two with 14:20 to play.

On VU's next possession, Rod Odom hit a pair of foul shots, and Fuller blew by a defender and added a lay-up next time. Odom followed with a 3 two minutes later, and the nine-point lead never shrunk under seven again.

What went right:
Coach Kevin Stallings wants the team's identity to be defense, and he was happy with what he got on that end on Monday. Cornell shot just 30 percent (18-for-60) from the field, with VU blocking eight shots.

Stallings was especially concerned about not giving up transition buckets and 3-pointers. Cornell had just six fast-break points, and was 5-of-28 (17.9 percent) from 3.

Offensively, Stallings said he doesn't want his team to be reliant on the 3-ball, and was happy that VU shot just six in the second half. Stallings had to love the efficiency there, as VU hit three of them as part of a 10-for-20 effort behind the arc on the evening.

Center Josh Henderson also came on in the second half, hitting 3-of-4 shots after the break as part of his 11-point effort. It's his second-straight double-figure scoring game after failing to score more than five in the team's first seven games.

When Johnson played, he was quite the efficient scorer, netting 15 points on six shots.

What went wrong:
Johnson's fourth foul with 19:02 to play was huge, as the team had major troubles with Cornell's full-court press without him. VU led 38-24 when he departed, but Cornell had cut that lead to two within minutes.

VU had a size advantage in the post, but Henderson got stripped or blocked many times against smaller defenders in the first half in particular. Backup Shelby Moats didn't present much of a threat down low either, missing his only shot in 14 minutes. As usual, the Commodores weren't looking to convert a lot of chances in the low post, and that's probably why. 

The Commodores came in shooting just 60.5 percent from the foul line, and somehow managed to lower that figure after a 10-of-19 evening. Stallings voiced concern for that aspect of the team's play in the post-game press conference, but noted some of his earlier teams struggled there early in the season and straightened things out later.

Stallings was also displeased with Johnson for getting in foul trouble, calling Johnson's play "careless." He may have also been referring to Johnson's four turnovers in 18 minutes.

Player of the game:
It had to be Fuller after the junior ran the point about half the evening and led the team with 35 total minutes. The Californian finished with a team-high 17 points on eight shots in 35 minutes, and those were 35 tiring minutes as Cornell often pressed with Johnson out. 

Fuller was a step quicker than the Cornell players trying to guard him, and that paid off on a couple of occasions as he slipped by in traffic for lay-ups.

Worth noting:

I would estimate the crowd at tipoff at about 2,500 people; VU, of course, was competing with Monday Night Football just 10 minutes down the road.

Cornell starting guard Miles Asafo-Adjei got a big ovation in pregame introductions. The senior hails from Antioch, Tenn. and went to Ensworth High.

VU starters were Johnson, Fuller, Kevin Bright, Henderson and Odom.

Dai-Jon Parker, who's been suspended all season until tonight, checked in for Johnson at the 13:18 mark. He'd been scheduled to come in for Fuller at the first media timeout, but Johnson missed a pair of free throws at that time. Parker came back out at 10:17, but wasn't on the bench for much of the rest of the night due to Johnson's troubles. He played 28 minutes and scored two points on three shots.

Johnson picked up his fourth foul with 19 minutes left and the Commodores leading, 38-24. Cornell went to a full-court press and scored the game's next eight points. He came back in with 7:11 left and VU leading, 54-45, though he did take a brief rest once more.

VU got a rare five-point play with about 10 minutes left when Odom nailed a 3, and Fuller was shoved to the deck at the same time. The bucket counted and Fuller hit both charity tosses.

Nine players played, and eight passed out at least one assist.

Fuller now has 17 points or more in two of his last three games.


It was not the prettiest of wins, but the Commodores will take it.

Junior guard Kyle Fuller led Vanderbilt with 17 points as the Commodores moved over .500 with Monday night’s 66-55 win over Cornell. However, the win did not come easy. The Commodores were up big in the first half and at one point held a 19-point lead. But 58 seconds into the second half, sophomore guard Kedren Johnson, the team’s leading scorer, picked up his fourth foul, sending him to the bench for most of the half. Cornell took advantage of Johnson being on the bench by going on a 14-2 run, closing the gap to only a 2-point Vanderbilt lead.

As close as they came, the Big Red could not get over the hump, missing their next five shots. The Commodores went on a 12-2 run, extending the lead to 12 points, a lead they would keep for the remainder of the game.

The Commodores relied almost entirely on their starters in this one, with the only points from the bench coming off a Dai-Jon Parker layup in the final minute of the game. This was Parker’s first game action this season, having just finished an 8-game suspension. Coach Kevin Stallings was happy to have his other sophomore guard back on the court, playing him for 28 minutes off the bench.

Redshirt sophomore center Josh Henderson had his second straight double digit scoring night, finishing the game with 11 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. Although he was in foul trouble the entire game and only played 18 minutes, Johnson still finished the game with 15 points. Junior Rod Odom continued his stellar play of late with a 13 point, 7 rebound game.

The big story of this game was the Vanderbilt defense. Cornell was held to 55 points on 18 of 60 shooting, a mere 30 percent from the field. Sophomore forward Shonn Miller led the Big Red with 13 points, 15 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

This win marked the 181st win at Memorial Gym for Coach Stallings, tying him with Roy Skinner for the most home wins at Vanderbilt. Stallings will attempt to break Skinner’s record on Friday when Middle Tennessee comes to Memorial.

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