Arizona-Vanderbilt PreviewNov 25, 2009 - 3:13 PM By JEFF MEZYDLO STATS Senior Writer
Arizona (3-1) at Vanderbilt (3-1), 7:00 p.m. EDT
After bouncing back from an opening-round tournament loss, Vanderbilt has a chance to salvage a winning trip to Hawaii.
The No. 24 Commodores look to conclude their stay on a positive note Wednesday when they face Arizona in the fifth-place game at the Maui Invitational.
Hours after cracking the Top 25 for the first time since March 17, 2008, Vanderbilt (3-1) promptly lost 67-58 to Cincinnati in Monday's tournament opener. The Commodores regrouped to beat Division II host Chaminade 68-41 in consolation play Tuesday.
Reserve John Jenkins scored 14 points and Jermaine Beal added 10 in the win for Vanderbilt, which used a 24-0 run in the second half to break open a four-point game.
While the long travel to the island could have played a part, Commodores coach Kevin Stallings admits his team has not looked fresh in most of its first two contests in a tournament where teams play three games in three days.
Vanderbilt left for the event one day after pulling out a 72-70 victory at Saint Mary's on Saturday in Northern California.
"Our practice here, we looked heavy legged, we looked tired," Stallings said. "We had a relatively long travel day Saturday, but I don't want to attribute it to that. It was literally at the 15-minute mark that we started playing like we have all season."
After shooting a dismal 27.5 percent against Cincinnati, the Commodores shot 43.3 percent Tuesday, and held the Silverswords to a 23.8-percent effort from the field and 15 second-half points.
"Well, we are really happy to win that game," Stallings said. "It is tough because you are coming back from a loss (Monday)."
Beal and sophomore Jeffery Taylor are averaging a team-leading 14.8 points apiece, but both are coming off their lowest scoring games of the season. The 6-foot-7 Taylor finished with nine, but played just 18 minutes against Chaminade.
With a victory Wednesday, Vanderbilt could possibly remain in the Top 25 after Cincinnati defeated a second straight ranked opponent Tuesday, beating No. 21 Maryland 69-57 to reach the Maui title game.
However, winning won't be easy against Arizona (3-1), which beat Colorado 91-87 in overtime in consolation action Tuesday.
Guard Nic Wise scored 30 points, while Jamelle Horne added 17 and Brendon Lavender 16 for the Wildcats, who bounced back from a 65-61 loss to Wisconsin by shooting 52.6 percent.
Wise, the Wildcats' top returning scorer with 15.7 points per game in 2008-09, is averaging 18.2 through four games this season. He scored 16 of his team's final 19 against the Buffaloes, who overcame an eight-point deficit with 52 seconds left to force overtime. Wise was 9 of 15 from the field - including 5 of 9 from 3-point range - and added six assists.
Wise will be in for a test against a Vanderbilt defense that's holding opponents to 36.9 percent shooting and 62.8 points per game.
Vanderbilt and Arizona are facing each other for the first time since the Commodores won 107-76 in their initial meeting Dec. 29, 1956.
- NCAA BB
VANDERBILT (24) 84 FINAL
Nov 25 9:15 PM
- NCAA BB
VANDERBILT (24) 36 HALFTIME
Nov 25 7:56 PM
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