Vanderbilt outlasts Yale 79-74 in 2 overtimes
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said he wasn't surprised it took double overtime to beat Yale on Saturday.
Damian Jones posted 19 points, eight rebounds and four assists to lead the Commodores to a 79-74 win in front of a season-high crowd of 10,103 at Memorial Gym.
''I told everybody that would listen, including my team and my family and everybody else, that we were getting ready to play what I thought was a (heck) of a good basketball team today and I was right,'' Stallings said. ''They are a veteran team with terrific toughness and experience. It took everything we had to get that done.''
Vanderbilt (10-3) outscored Yale 12-7 in the second overtime to earn the win in its final game before Southeastern Conference play starts on Tuesday.
Yale (10-5), which upset defending national champion Connecticut earlier in the season, looked like it was ready to beat another team from a major conference when Javier Duren's 3-pointer gave the Bulldogs a 13-point lead, 52-39, with 8:54 left in regulation.
But Vanderbilt closed with a 20-7 run and Shelton Mitchell made a layup with 20.7 seconds left, sending the game into the first overtime tied at 59.
''We just knew we had to stay together and we knew we had to play better defense because they were getting basically any shot they wanted,'' Mitchell said. ''Luckily, we got the win.''
Mitchell finished with 15 points and eight assists in 46 minutes.
Yale's Greg Kelley nailed a 3-pointer, narrowing the deficit to 66-65 with 15.5 seconds left in the first overtime and teammate Jack Montague's putback with one second left sent the game into a second overtime, tied at 67.
''I had no idea how much time was left,'' Montague said. ''I just quickly got the ball and tried to throw it in there as quickly as possible.''
Montague scored 11 points, including three 3-pointers on 4 of 16 from the floor.
Yale made 10 of 29 3-pointers.
''Being at home and feeding off the energy of the crowd - that certainly helped (Vanderbilt),'' Yale coach James Jones said. ''It's all kind of lopped into one right now. It's hard to figure out exactly what happened. They made a couple shots and we missed some.''
Duren led Yale with 17 points and seven assists. Armani Cotton added 13 and Justin Sears 12.
Riley LaChance added 14 points for the Commodores, Matthew Fisher-Davis 12 and Luke Kornet 10.
The Commodores, who entered the game as the most accurate shooting team in the SEC (51.4 percent), shot only 41.1 percent from the field.
Vanderbilt's last double-overtime game was a 2008 loss to Kentucky.
Vanderbilt has won five of its last six games.
Yale: Bulldogs guard Jack Montague was a 1,200-point scorer and the all-time assists leader at Brentwood High School, which is 12 miles south of Vanderbilt. Yale practiced at Brentwood on New Year's Day. Montague hit the winning 3-pointer against defending national champion Connecticut on Dec. 5. He entered the Vanderbilt game ranked among the national leaders in 3-point field-goal percentage at 51.5 percent. ... Yale remains one win away from the most victories in school history before Ivy League play. The 1991-92 and 2011-12 teams started with 10 wins each before league play.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores have played two Ivy League teams this season. Vanderbilt routed Pennsylvania 79-50 on Dec. 22 for coach Kevin Stallings' 300th win with the Commodores.
Vanderbilt's Damian Jones enjoyed a productive day despite a lot of attention from the Yale defense. ''They tried to make it tough, came with the double team starting more in the second half and stuff,'' Jones said. ''I just tried to create opportunities for my teammates to get open for 3s.'' The Commodores made 7 of 22 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Vanderbilt outscored Yale 26-10 at the free-throw line. Jones led the way, going 9 of 13.
Yale visits New Jersey Institute of Technology on Friday.
Vanderbilt hosts Auburn on Tuesday in the Southeastern Conference opener.