MTSU
VANDY

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Vandy steps up its defense in win over Middle Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Bryce Drew didn't like Vanderbilt's defensive effort four days ago.

But the Commodores coach was much happier after his team's 79-51 win over Middle Tennessee. The Blue Raiders hit only 36 percent from the floor.

''Our players worked really hard on defense the last couple of days,'' Drew said. ''We wanted to come out and defend much better. I thought it was our best effort and execution on the defensive end.''

The Commodores (6-2), who lost point guard Darius Garland to a season-ending knee injury on November 23, rebounded from Saturday's loss to North Carolina State.

Middle Tennessee (3-6) missed 12 of 14 3-pointers and never got closer than 19 in the second half.

Vanderbilt's Simi Shittu scored 15 points and Matthew Moyer, a Syracuse transfer, added a season-high 14.

''I just got cleared two weeks ago, so all I've got to do is stay positive and stay the course and help the young guys out,'' Moyer said. ''It was a tough loss (to NC State) because of the effort. We knew we needed to come out with effort and energy.''

Vanderbilt ended a three-game losing streak to Middle Tennessee, increasing its lead to 30-7 in the series.

''Vandy took advantage of its open opportunities,'' MTSU coach Nick McDevitt said. ''Knocked down open shots. Just shot the ball very well.''

Antonio Green, who scored a career-high 30 points in Saturday's loss to Lipscomb, led the Blue Raiders with 18 points as Middle Tennessee lost its fifth straight game after starting the season 3-1.

''We feel like we're getting better, but it's depressing losing,'' said Green, who is three points shy of 1,000 for his career. ''We've got a tough schedule.''

MTSU's Reggie Scurry added 14 on 6 of 9 shooting.

Vanderbilt went 18 of 19 from the foul line (95 percent) and made nine 3-pointers.

Vanderbilt took charge early, grabbing a 42-21 halftime lead as Middle Tennessee missed 18 of its first 26 shots.

Aaron Nesmith led the Commodores with eight rebounds and added nine points.

BIG PICTURE

Middle Tennessee: The Blue Raiders' slump continued as they struggled offensively.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores still are adjusting to the loss of Garland, who sat on the bench for the first time since undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. He was projected as a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.

BUTLER ELIGIBLE

Middle Tennessee's Darnell Butler, a Seminole State (Okla.) transfer, was ruled eligible Wednesday. Butler, who averaged 19.2 points and 5.5 rebounds last season, didn't enter the Vanderbilt game until the final 82 seconds.

REMEMBERING TURNER

A moment of silence was held before the game to honor Vanderbilt tight end Turner Cockrell, who died Thursday after a one-year battle with melanoma. He was 21.

UP NEXT

Middle Tennessee: Hosts Murray State (4-1) on Saturday.

Vanderbilt: Hosts No. 20 Arizona State (7-0) on Dec. 17 after a 12-day break for final exams.

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Key Players
J. Hawthorne
4 F
S. Shittu
28.0 Min. Per Game 28.0
17.3 Pts. Per Game 17.3
3.3 Ast. Per Game 3.3
5.7 Reb. Per Game 5.7
30.4 Field Goal % 55.3
33.3 Three Point % 0.0
100.0 Free Throw % 75.0
  Defensive rebound by Aaron Nesmith 25.0
  Darnell Butler Jr. missed jump shot, blocked by Yanni Wetzell 27.0
+ 1 Matthew Moyer made free throw 47.0
  Shooting foul on Darnell Butler Jr. 47.0
+ 2 Matthew Moyer made layup, assist by Maxwell Evans 47.0
  Traveling violation turnover on Yanni Wetzell 47.0
  Defensive rebound by Aaron Nesmith 55.0
  Jayce Johnson missed 3-pt. jump shot 57.0
  Defensive rebound by Joe Toye 1:41
  Donovan Sims missed 3-pt. jump shot 1:43
+ 2 Maxwell Evans made layup 2:02
Team Stats
Points 51 79
Field Goals 20-56 (35.7%) 26-55 (47.3%)
3-Pointers 2-14 (14.3%) 9-21 (42.9%)
Free Throws 9-19 (47.4%) 18-19 (94.7%)
Total Rebounds 32 38
Offensive 12 7
Defensive 18 25
Team 2 6
Assists 8 13
Steals 3 7
Blocks 4 5
Turnovers 14 13
Fouls 19 16
Technicals 0 0
18 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST
15 PTS, 6 REB
12T
away team logo Middle Tenn. 3-6 213051
home team logo Vanderbilt 6-2 423779
Team Stats
away team logo Middle Tenn. 3-6 67.3 PPG 41.6 RPG 10.7 APG
home team logo Vanderbilt 6-2 72.1 PPG 39.6 RPG 12.0 APG
Key Players
55
A. Green G 18.3 PPG 4.3 RPG 1.2 APG 38.4 FG%
11
S. Shittu F 11.5 PPG 6.8 RPG 1.9 APG 47.7 FG%
Top Scorers
A. Green G 18 PTS 4 REB 1 AST
S. Shittu F 15 PTS 6 REB 0 AST
35.7 FG% 47.3
14.3 3PT FG% 42.9
47.4 FT% 94.7
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
A. Green 18 4 1 6/16 2/8 4/4 1 32 1 0 3 1 3
R. Scurry 14 7 0 6/9 0/0 2/6 3 24 0 1 4 4 3
K. Gamble 6 8 0 3/10 0/2 0/3 3 29 1 2 1 4 4
J. Johnson 5 4 2 1/9 0/2 3/6 2 33 0 0 1 1 3
D. Sims 2 1 2 1/3 0/2 0/0 3 21 0 0 1 0 1
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
A. Green 18 4 1 6/16 2/8 4/4 1 32 1 0 3 1 3
R. Scurry 14 7 0 6/9 0/0 2/6 3 24 0 1 4 4 3
K. Gamble 6 8 0 3/10 0/2 0/3 3 29 1 2 1 4 4
J. Johnson 5 4 2 1/9 0/2 3/6 2 33 0 0 1 1 3
D. Sims 2 1 2 1/3 0/2 0/0 3 21 0 0 1 0 1
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Farquhar 4 1 3 2/5 0/0 0/0 2 20 1 1 1 0 1
T. Massenburg 2 3 0 1/3 0/0 0/0 0 17 0 0 1 1 2
C. Miller 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
J. Hawthorne 0 1 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 2 10 0 0 0 1 0
D. Butler Jr. 0 0 0 0/1 0/0 0/0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
A. Crump 0 1 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 2 10 0 0 2 0 1
L. Mosley 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
K. Lewis 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
C. Jones - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Dishman - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 51 30 8 20/56 2/14 9/19 19 200 3 4 14 12 18
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
S. Shittu 15 6 0 6/13 0/3 3/4 3 21 1 0 2 2 4
M. Moyer 14 2 1 4/6 2/3 4/4 2 20 0 1 1 1 1
M. Ryan 9 0 2 3/5 2/4 1/1 0 21 0 0 1 0 0
S. Lee 7 4 3 2/9 1/3 2/2 1 28 2 0 0 0 4
J. Toye 6 3 0 2/3 0/0 2/2 3 22 1 0 3 1 2
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
S. Shittu 15 6 0 6/13 0/3 3/4 3 21 1 0 2 2 4
M. Moyer 14 2 1 4/6 2/3 4/4 2 20 0 1 1 1 1
M. Ryan 9 0 2 3/5 2/4 1/1 0 21 0 0 1 0 0
S. Lee 7 4 3 2/9 1/3 2/2 1 28 2 0 0 0 4
J. Toye 6 3 0 2/3 0/0 2/2 3 22 1 0 3 1 2
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
M. Evans 9 4 3 3/8 1/3 2/2 2 22 0 0 1 2 2
A. Nesmith 9 8 2 3/4 1/2 2/2 1 26 1 2 0 0 8
C. Brown 5 2 1 2/4 1/1 0/0 3 21 0 1 1 0 2
Y. Wetzell 5 3 1 1/3 1/2 2/2 1 17 2 1 4 1 2
I. Rice 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
M. Hunt 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
E. Obinna - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Garland - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 79 32 13 26/55 9/21 18/19 16 200 7 5 13 7 25