Unranked Cleveland State used great defense to build a big first-half lead and hold it all game, as the Vikings came to Memorial Gym and beat No. 7 Vanderbilt by a 71-58 score.
The Vikings' backcourt of D'Aundray Brown, Trevon Harmon and Jeremy Montgomery combined for 39 points and 11 steals, and did a fantastic job preventing Vanderbilt from getting into any kind of an offensive flow.
The Commodores had a miserable shooting day, hitting 35.3 percent from the field and 23.5 percent from 3-point range, and didn't get the help they needed from All-American candidates John Jenkins or Jeffery Taylor.
Jenkins led the Commodores in scoring with 17 points, and passed the 1,000 point mark for his career, but needed 14 shots to do it. Taylor followed one of his career-best games on Friday with a 3-of-8, nine-point effort that included six turnovers.
Meanwhile, the Vikings hit half their shots, and out-rebounded VU 36-35. Vanderbilt did not lead the entire day.
"We got we deserved. We did not play hard today or well today… the team that plays the hardest and the toughest is going to win, and that's what happened today," VU coach Kevin Stallings said.
Cleveland State led the entire first half, including a 16-point margin with under a minute left in the first half. The Vikings' perimeter defense forced 13 turnovers in the first half alone, with eight different Commodores committing at least one.
Just about everything went wrong. The Commodores struggled to hit even layups and free throws, hitting just 29.2 percent from the field and 61.5 percent from the line at the break, and Jenkins was held without a field goal.
"Their pressure on the ball, especially at the point of attack... was really good, and we didn't respond well," Stallings said.
Vanderbilt made a run midway through the second half when Lance Goulbourne blocked a 3, Taylor picked up the loose ball, and Goulbourne got a fast-break dunk on the other end to cut the lead to 43-40. CSU answered with a field goal, but Vandy's Steve Tchiengang hit a pair of foul shots to cut the margin back to three.
But the Vikings' Devon Long pulled an offensive rebound on the next possession, got fouled, and hit the free throw. Anton Grady and Charles Lee added a jumpers before VU could score again, and the Commodores never got closer than six again.
Vandy had 21 turnovers, and just six assists for the day.