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Vanderbilt ends 2018 with win over UNC Asheville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Vanderbilt made a late change on defense and it paid off.

The Commodores capitalized on their height advantage by switching from a man-to-man to a 2-3 zone defense.

Notre Dame transfer Matt Ryan scored a season high 19 points, including three 3-pointers, to lead Vanderbilt to a 90-59 win over UNC Asheville on Monday.

''I thought our team, in the last 10 minutes, we got some energy from getting some stops finally on defense and we were able to get out in transition,'' Commodores coach Bryce Drew said. ''And I thought free throws were big. Our guys really attacked the offensive glass and were able to use our size and length to get to the free-throw line.''

Vanderbilt (9-3) outscored UNC Asheville 31-10 at the foul line and enjoyed a 14-6 edge in offensive rebounds.

''I thought when they went zone it really kind of hurt our aggression in terms of attacking the basket,'' Bulldogs first-year coach Mike Morrell said. ''I thought that, obviously, was a really good move on their part. When we got unaggressive we started turning the basketball over, which allowed them some easy points on the other end.''

Vanderbilt led 59-53 with 11:31 left before closing with a 31-6 run.

The Commodores spend about 85 percent of their defensive practice time on man to man, but Drew switches to zone in games when the situation calls for it.

Simi Shittu, projected to go in the first round of June's NBA draft, scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Commodores, who reached the 90-point mark for the fourth time this season.

''We're just playing together. I feel like the (opposing) team is focused on me when I drive to the basket, so when I see Matt in the corner I'm going to pass and create for others, and other people are going to be in double figures,'' said Shittu, a 6-10 freshman forward from Canada who had four assists.

Yanni Wetzell, a St. Mary's (Texas) transfer from New Zealand who made his second straight start, added a season-high 16 points.

The 6-foot-10 junior was nearly perfect, shooting 5 of 6 from the floor and 6 of 7 from the foul line in front of 8,350 at Memorial Gym.

Four Commodores scored in double figures, including point guard Saben Lee with 11 points.

Vanderbilt closed 2018 with its second win in three days against the NCAA's youngest team.

The Commodores shot 56 percent from the floor, hitting 27 of 48.

Redshirt freshman L.J. Thorpe led UNC Asheville (2-12) with a career-high 17 points, including three 3-pointers.

Freshman Devon Baker added 13 point for the Bulldogs, who were outrebounded 41-20.

BIG PICTURE

UNC Asheville: The Bulldogs lost 12 of 14 non-conference games and fell to 0-5 against Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores finished strong by outscoring UNC Asheville 50-25 in the second half, getting strong efforts from Ryan, Shittu and Wetzell.

WARMING UP TO GYM

Ryan, who entered the game with the third-most 3s (27) in the Southeastern Conference, is getting used to the wide-open configuration of Memorial Gym that troubles some opposing shooters. ''I mean, it's just about reps,'' Ryan said. ''I was missing a few in the first half that I should have made and we just kept moving the ball. We were getting some wide-open shots, but I was definitely missing some open ones. If it's an open shot, I'm going to take it regardless if I'm hot or not. . But it's better when they go in.''

HEIGHT ADVANTAGE

The Commodores outscored the Bulldogs 24-10 in the paint during the first 20 minutes to take a 40-34 halftime lead.

UP NEXT

UNC Asheville: Hosts Winthrop (8-4) on Saturday in a Big South Conference opener.

Vanderbilt: Hosts Ole Miss (10-2) on Saturday in a Southeastern Conference opener.

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Key Players
Min. Per Game
Pts. Per Game
Ast. Per Game
Reb. Per Game
Field Goal %
Three Point %
Free Throw %
  Defensive rebound by Aaron Nesmith 1.0
  Luke Lawson missed 3-pt. jump shot 3.0
+ 2 Mac Hunt made jump shot 25.0
  Defensive rebound by Clevon Brown 54.0
  Devon Baker missed jump shot 56.0
+ 3 Aaron Nesmith made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Matthew Moyer 1:28
  Defensive rebound by Aaron Nesmith 1:44
  Coty Jude missed jump shot, blocked by Matthew Moyer 1:46
+ 2 Maxwell Evans made dunk 2:13
  Lost ball turnover on LJ Thorpe, stolen by Joe Toye 2:18
+ 1 Joe Toye made 2nd of 2 free throws 2:29
Team Stats
Points 59 90
Field Goals 21-53 (39.6%) 27-48 (56.3%)
3-Pointers 7-19 (36.8%) 5-19 (26.3%)
Free Throws 10-11 (90.9%) 31-40 (77.5%)
Total Rebounds 20 41
Offensive 6 14
Defensive 13 25
Team 1 2
Assists 7 16
Steals 4 4
Blocks 0 7
Turnovers 15 13
Fouls 27 15
Technicals 0 0
17 PTS, 3 REB, 3 AST
19 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST
12T
away team logo UNC-Asheville 2-12 342559
home team logo Vanderbilt 9-3 405090
Team Stats
away team logo UNC-Asheville 2-12 59.9 PPG 32.4 RPG 10.7 APG
home team logo Vanderbilt 9-3 68.1 PPG 38.8 RPG 11.6 APG
Key Players
4
L. Thorpe F 8.6 PPG 3.5 RPG 2.5 APG 38.5 FG%
32
M. Ryan F 8.1 PPG 2.7 RPG 0.9 APG 34.7 FG%
Top Scorers
L. Thorpe F 17 PTS 3 REB 3 AST
M. Ryan F 19 PTS 4 REB 2 AST
39.6 FG% 56.3
36.8 3PT FG% 26.3
90.9 FT% 77.5
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
D. Baker 13 2 2 5/14 1/2 2/3 0 33 1 0 2 1 1
D. Gilmore 7 1 0 3/4 0/0 1/1 5 13 0 0 0 0 1
C. Jude 7 4 1 3/9 1/4 0/0 3 28 0 0 2 1 3
T. Jones 5 1 0 2/7 1/3 0/0 5 30 1 0 2 1 0
J. Seegars 3 1 0 1/2 1/2 0/0 3 17 0 0 2 1 0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
D. Baker 13 2 2 5/14 1/2 2/3 0 33 1 0 2 1 1
D. Gilmore 7 1 0 3/4 0/0 1/1 5 13 0 0 0 0 1
C. Jude 7 4 1 3/9 1/4 0/0 3 28 0 0 2 1 3
T. Jones 5 1 0 2/7 1/3 0/0 5 30 1 0 2 1 0
J. Seegars 3 1 0 1/2 1/2 0/0 3 17 0 0 2 1 0
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
L. Thorpe 17 3 3 5/11 3/6 4/4 4 21 0 0 4 1 2
C. Worthy 7 6 0 2/3 0/1 3/3 4 19 1 0 1 1 5
J. Peck 0 0 0 0/1 0/0 0/0 3 19 0 0 2 0 0
D. Heath 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0
L. Lawson 0 1 1 0/2 0/1 0/0 0 17 1 0 0 0 1
J. Levitch - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. Townsend - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Woodyard - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Batts Jr. - - - - - - - - - - - - -
S. Edoka - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 59 19 7 21/53 7/19 10/11 27 200 4 0 15 6 13
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
M. Ryan 19 4 2 7/14 3/9 2/2 3 30 0 0 1 1 3
S. Shittu 17 9 4 5/7 0/0 7/9 1 30 1 1 4 3 6
Y. Wetzell 16 6 1 5/6 0/0 6/7 2 23 0 2 1 1 5
S. Lee 11 2 4 2/3 0/0 7/8 3 27 1 0 1 0 2
J. Toye 9 2 0 2/5 0/3 5/6 4 19 2 0 2 2 0
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
M. Ryan 19 4 2 7/14 3/9 2/2 3 30 0 0 1 1 3
S. Shittu 17 9 4 5/7 0/0 7/9 1 30 1 1 4 3 6
Y. Wetzell 16 6 1 5/6 0/0 6/7 2 23 0 2 1 1 5
S. Lee 11 2 4 2/3 0/0 7/8 3 27 1 0 1 0 2
J. Toye 9 2 0 2/5 0/3 5/6 4 19 2 0 2 2 0
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
A. Nesmith 6 7 3 2/5 2/5 0/1 2 27 0 0 2 0 7
M. Evans 5 3 1 1/4 0/2 3/5 0 16 0 0 1 3 0
M. Moyer 3 3 1 1/2 0/0 1/2 0 10 0 1 0 3 0
C. Brown 2 3 0 1/1 0/0 0/0 0 16 0 3 1 1 2
M. Hunt 2 0 0 1/1 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
I. Rice 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
E. Obinna - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Garland - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 90 39 16 27/48 5/19 31/40 15 200 4 7 13 14 25