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November 15, 2013

Siakam seals Vandy win over Lipscomb

NASHVILLE -- A career high 18 points and 13 rebounds by forward James Siakam finally pushed Vanderbilt (2-0) to an 80-69 win over crosstown rival Lipscomb (1-2) at Memorial Gym in Nashville on Friday.

The win made 15-year head coach Kevin Stallings the winningest basketball coach in Commodore history. With 279 wins, Stallings passed legendary coach Roy Skinner.

Lipscomb, greatly out-manned under the basket, stuck to a game plan that called for draining the play clock and hitting long 3s. And the Bison, under first year head coach Casey Alexander, nearly pulled off the upset by hitting 10 of 28 3s, including five by freshman guard J.C. Hampton.

Vanderbilt led Lipscomb by just three at the half, 33-30, and eventually built its lead to eight. But three consecutive 3-pointers by Hampton pushed the Bison ahead by two, 48-46 with 11 minutes left.

But Dai-Jon Parker nailed a long 3 to answer on the other end, and the Commodores would never trail again.

Lipscomb finished the game with four players having four fouls, and two more fouled out. But Vanderbilt was atrocious at the foul line, hitting just 22 of 37 free throws for 59 percent. "Maybe Lipscomb's free throw defense was really good," quipped a frustrated Stallings in the post-game interview.

VU offset their terrible free throw shooting by making 68 percent of its second half attempts from the field, and hitting eight of 18 3s. Many of those shots came from Siakam from inside and Rod Odom from the perimeter. Odom had 20 for the Commodores, matching a career high, which included four 3s.

Siakam's double double was the first of his career. "Couldn't be prouder of him," said Stallings. "Without him we probably don't win the game."

The Bison had out-rebounded their first two opponents of the season by double digits, but were man-handled by Vanderbilt inside. VU out-rebounded Lipscomb 42-26.

Khion Sanke had 15 points off the bench for LU, all but one of those in the first half. Hampton finished with 21 points, including five 3-pointers.

Kyle Fuller had 16 for VU, including 11 free throws. Eric McClellan had 13, Dai-Jon Parker had six (on two 3s) and Damian Jones had four.

"I just thought we'd play a lot better than that," said a disappointed Stallings. "It's always good to win when you're not playing your best. Overall our performance, despite the win, was not what I thought it could be."

Vanderbilt hits the road for the first time this season, playing at Butler on Tuesday at Butler in famed Hinkle Fieldhouse.

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