November 18, 2015

Not usually known as a scorer, Jeff Roberson shined offensively in Vanderbilt's latest game while showing no ill effects from a recent concussion.

The sophomore forward may again play a key role for the No. 17 Commodores if they are short-handed Thursday night against Stony Brook.

Roberson was forced to miss Friday's season-opening 80-41 win over Austin Peay due to a concussion suffered in practice, but he returned to score 18 points and grab a career high-tying eight rebounds Monday in a 98-62 victory over Gardner-Webb.

"I certainly didn't want to come in this game and mess things up," Roberson said. "The way they played last game was amazing and I just wanted to help build on that."

Coach Kevin Stallings credited Roberson's defense, for which he's more well known, and added that "Jeff played a man's game tonight."

With Roberson knocking down six of his eight shots, the Commodores (2-0) finished at 58.2 percent after connecting at 44.4 on Friday. He also helped make up for Luke Kornet's absence in the second half.

The 7-foot-1 starting forward, averaging 11.5 points and 7.0 rebounds, has a sprained ankle, and Stallings said he is questionable for Thursday.

"Obviously, I wish Luke didn't get hurt, but we have a lot of depth on this team," said Roberson, who averaged 4.7 points in 33 games as a freshman. "Throughout the season anybody should be ready because you never know when your time is coming."

The visit from Stony Brook (1-0) will serve as the Commodores' final tune-up before the Maui Invitational. They will begin that tournament Monday against St. John's and could face No. 14 Indiana the following day. Fourth-ranked Kansas is also participating in the three-day event.

Stony Brook opened its season Saturday with a 103-32 rout of the United States Merchant Marine Academy, a Division III program. Carson Puriefoy scored 19 points while two-time America East player of the year Jameel Warney had 16 with 14 rebounds.

The honorable mention All-American forward averaged 16.4 points, 11.7 boards - among the nation's leaders - and 2.5 blocks in 2014-15 while also being named his conference's defensive player of the year.

Warney keyed a 62-57 win at No. 13 Washington on Dec. 28, the Seawolves' first victory over a ranked opponent as a Division I program in 14 tries.

"They've got everybody back from a team that went on the road and won at Washington," Stallings said. "They've got an NBA 5-man and a very good team. So I think we'll know quite a bit more about ourselves after Thursday night."

Stony Brook, which has surpassed 20 wins in four consecutive seasons, is meeting Vanderbilt for the first time.

The Commodores could benefit from a major size advantage even without Kornet because they have a pair of 7-foot centers in Damian Jones and Josh Henderson who have combined to average 16.0 points. The only Stony Brook player taller than 6-8 to see the floor in the opener was little-used 6-11 reserve Jakub Petras.

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