Vanderbilt tops South Dakota State 92-77 in NIT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings gave Matthew Fisher-Davis a stern message after one of the Commodores' best 3-point shooters got into foul trouble early in the second half against South Dakota State.
''Listen, we're not going to win if you don't make some shots,'' Stallings told the freshman guard. ''So, he decided to make four of his next five.''
Fisher-Davis actually made four straight 3-pointers during a key stretch in the second half, rallying Vanderbilt to a 92-77 win over South Dakota State in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament on Friday night.
Wade Baldwin IV had 20 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, and James Siakam had 14 points and seven rebounds for Vanderbilt, which broke a school record with 13 blocked shots - including four by Luke Kornet - eclipsing the previous mark of 11 set in a first-round win at St. Mary's. The Commodores broke the single-season school record with 182 blocked shots, surpassing the 174 they had in 2008 and 2009.
Damian Jones added 15 points and Fisher-Davis finished with 12 after going 4 for 11 from the field, including 4 for 9 from 3-point range.
''(Matthew) was real cold in the first half, but he came out firing,'' Baldwin said. ''I told him it's done and he came out and did his thing. He hit four big 3's to really ice the game for us.''
Stallings started designing plays for Fisher-Davis after he heated up.
''When you start hitting a couple in a row, the basket gets even bigger,'' Fisher-Davis said. ''I was just running the floor and they were finding me.''
Cody Larson led South Dakota State (24-11) with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Fisher-Davis picked up the slack for teammate Riley LaChance, who was called for his fourth foul with 16:31 left. His first three 3-pointers capped a 16-0 run that turned a two-point deficit into a 14-point lead. Reed Tellinghuisen's basket gave the Jackrabbits a 59-57 lead with 9:12 left, but the Commodores answered with a 16-0 run to take a 73-59 lead.
The last two rounds of the NIT will be at Madison Square Garden in New York, a goal for Vanderbilt.
''We're trying to go all the way to New York,'' Baldwin said. ''This is a dream to play in Madison Square Garden. I mean, LeBron, Muhammad Ali. All the greats have all been in that gym. And being a Jersey guy, playing there is a dream come true.''
Baldwin, a freshman guard from Belle Mead, New Jersey, did everything in his power to get Vanderbilt one step closer to the Big Apple. The Commodores hit 18 of 22 shots in the second half for an 81.8 percent clip after connecting on just 38.5 percent in the first 20 minutes.
''I mean that is unbelievable,'' South Dakota State coach Scott Nagy said. ''We talked about switching defenses, but I just want to go with what we got this year. This is a very good offensive team.''
Tellinghuisen added 15 points and Jake Bittle had 14 for South Dakota State.
South Dakota State scored the first nine points of the second half, prompting Stallings to call a timeout after Tellinghuisen's 3-pointer gave the Jacks a 36-33 lead.
The lead changed several times before Jeff Roberson's 3-pointer gave Vanderbilt a 55-52 lead with 11:18 left.
Eighth-seeded South Dakota State went 8 of 17 from 3-point range after making 12 3-pointers in an 86-76 upset of No. 1 Colorado State in the first round on Wednesday.
The Commodores, making their first postseason appearance since the 2012 NCAA Tournament, shot 56.5 percent from the floor.
Vanderbilt: MVP Scott Draud led the Commodores to their only NIT title in 1990 with a win over St. Louis in 1990 after tying for seventh place in the Southeastern Conference regular season under former coach Eddie Fogler. Four years later, Vanderbilt finished second to Villanova in its only other appearance in the NIT final.
South Dakota State: Deondre Parks struggled in the first half, missing nine of his first 10 shots from the floor.
COACH'S BIG PURCHASE
Stallings bought 500 student tickets at $5 apiece for the South Dakota State game, the first NIT game at Memorial Gym since 2005. A crowd of 5,605 turned out for the Commodores' final home game of the season. ''That was a phenomenal crowd on short notice,'' Stallings said. ''Their energy helped us so much. It was electric right from the beginning of the game.''