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Vanderbilt drops fourth straight with 81-61 loss at No. 10 Tennessee

Vanderbilt dropped a fourth straight game with an 81-61 loss Saturday at No. 10 Tennessee.
Vanderbilt dropped a fourth straight game with an 81-61 loss Saturday at No. 10 Tennessee. (Vanderbilt Athletics)

Vanderbilt did some good things against No. 10 ranked Tennessee on Saturday.

The Commodores also did some bad things that hurt themselves in an 81-61 loss to the Volunteers at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville.

Vanderbilt (4-6 overall, 0-4 Southeastern Conference) – which has now dropped four straight games – competed with Tennessee during stages of the first half, but ultimately got down by 10 at halftime and could never find a consistent rhythm in the second.

The ‘Dores shot 20-of-51 (39%) from the field, 5-of-23 (22%) from 3-point range and committed 16 turnovers with just 6 assists. Dylan Disu finished with 19 points to lead the way, while Scotty Pippen Jr. scored 18 points.

"They just got us out of rhythm a little bit," Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse said. "They turned up their pressure a little bit and I don't think we handled it as well as we could. We were settling a little bit in the first half, and they went on a run from that – and the second half was similar."

Tennessee (10-1, 4-1) shot 49% from the floor, 33% from deep and had four players finish in double figures with Keon Johnson (16 points), John Fulkerson (15), Victor Bailey Jr. (11) and Jaden Springer (10).

VU will look to bounce back Wednesday as it hosts Texas A&M at 6 p.m. at Memorial Gymnasium. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Tennessee got off to a fast start, using back-to-back layups from Springer and a 3-pointer by Josiah-Jordan James to quickly take a 7-0 lead just under two minutes in. Vanderbilt got within 9-7 after a pair of Jordan Wright free throws at the 15:00 mark, and soon used a 10-0 run to go up 19-15 with 9:12 remaining in the first half.

After Pippen Jr. made a layup off a full-court pass from Disu, the Volunteers assembled a 10-0 run of their own to take a 28-21 lead with 2:15 left before holding a 34-24 advantage at halftime.

Santiago Vescovi was left wide open and knocked down an easy triple to make it 41-35 UT at the 15:45 mark of the second half, and the ‘Dores were soon down 50-39 following back-to-back 3s by Bailey Jr.

D.J. Harvey's 3 cut Vanderbilt's deficit to 63-52 at the 6:39 mark, but the Volunteers continued to execute – going up 15 at 67-52 just a couple minutes later and cruising from there.

"We've been playing some pretty good basketball," Stackhouse said. "We've gotta have more contributions. D.J. Harvey got a little bit of rhythm in the second half, but we can't afford for him to go 0-for-5 in the first half. Those opportunities help keep the game in balance. Max Evans – he's kind of the same story. He gives us good energy on the defensive end.

"There's nowhere else to really go."

Not a great night for Scotty

Scotty Pippen Jr. is almost always in attack mode and playing at a high level for Vanderbilt. He’s a consistent threat for opposing teams and is usually the guy who is leading the way, but Tennessee’s defense made it tough for Pippen to get into his usual groove.

Pippen scored just 5 points on 1-of-6 shooting in the first half, while also committing three turnovers. He was better in the second half – scoring 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting with 3 turnovers – but it was still obvious that the Vols’ plan to make him uncomfortable was working.

Brown returns, but isn’t effective

Clevon Brown is a player Vanderbilt needs to be effective – and at a consistent rate. That just hasn’t been the case this season.

Brown, who had played in just three of the Commodores’ games coming into Saturday, finally returned to the court in Knoxville, but really wasn’t effective. It’s understandable that Brown hasn’t played much and doesn’t have the best legs under himself right now, but if he’s going to play – and start – for VU, he’s going to have to be produce.

Playing 23 minutes, Brown finished with zero points while taking just one shot to go along with 5 rebounds. When he was in for the ‘Dores, it didn’t even seem like he did anything except run up and down the court. Like I mentioned, it’ll take time for him to get acclimated to the pace of the game again, but he just has to be a consistent player moving forward.

"It's good to get Clevon back out there," Stackhouse said. "He had some good minutes as he continues to build his conditioning and get his rhythm. That's going to be a good asset for us to have moving forward."


– Vanderbilt started Scotty Pippen Jr., Max Evans, D.J. Harvey, Dylan Disu and Clevon Brown.

Clevon Brown played in just his fourth game of the season after being out with an abdominal strain as of late. He missed time earlier in the year with COVID-19 related issues.

Tyrin Lawrence (right leg) and Issac McBride (ankle sprain) were both inactive for Vanderbilt. Coach Jerry Stackhouse announced during his postgame press conference that Lawrence is out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL.