December 05, 2015

Even a 50-point win wasn't enough to satisfy Kevin Stallings.

Perhaps because he knows his Vanderbilt team is in for a stern challenge on the road Sunday against Baylor in a clash of ranked teams.

The No. 16 Commodores (6-1) showed little jet lag from their runner-up finish at last week's Maui Invitational, throttling Detroit 102-52 on Wednesday night. The offense was fine - William Baldwin IV scored 20 points to pace seven Vanderbilt players in double figures - but the perimeter defense left much to be desired for Stallings.

His team allowed Detroit to hit 11 3-pointers - but only five other baskets overall - after preaching in practice it needed to close out the Titans shooters.

"We came in wanting to take away the three, so when I see they made 11 threes versus us, that's disappointing," said Stallings, who slammed a dry erase board to the floor during a timeout. "Our preparation for two days was lacking. That's atypical of our guys."

It was the second straight game Vanderbilt struggled to defend the perimeter. Kansas went 8 for 16 in the championship game in Hawaii against the Commodores, who had held opponents to 19.5 percent (17 for 87) from 3-point range during their 5-0 start.

Considering No. 25 Baylor is shooting 39.1 percent from beyond the arc and sank 10 of 18 in last season's 66-63 win at Vanderbilt as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge, Stallings may have a legitimate concern.

"They're good and I hope our guys can embrace that," he said. "It's a big game."

While the Bears (5-1) went 3 for 17 from 3-point range Wednesday night, it didn't matter as they routed Prairie View A&M 80-41. Baylor was unselfish as Lester Medford had nine of the team's 24 assists, and Johnathan Motley shot 11 of 14 to finish with 23 points as he continues to thrive in a supersub role.

''It's fun coming off the bench,'' said Motley, who as a freshman last season started every game. ''I get to cheer my teammates on, get in the rhythm of the game on the bench and get hyped on the bench when you're waiting to go in. I just come in with a lot more energy and ready to play.''

The sophomore has made at least 50 percent of his shots in all but one game, connecting at 63.2 percent overall, and is second on the team in scoring at 14.7 points per game.

Senior Rico Gathers has been steady all season and has three double-doubles in his last four games after totaling 15 points and 13 rebounds Wednesday. Gathers has greatly improved his free-throw shooting, sinking 76.5 percent (26 of 34) after entering the season at 58.4 percent for his career.

Vanderbilt also has plenty of firepower offensively - its 85.7 points per game is tied for second in the SEC with Arkansas. While Baldwin (14.4 ppg) and Damian Jones (12.0) are the only players averaging in double figures, the Commodores have nine players scoring at least 5.8 per game.

One of them - freshman guard Camron Justice - could miss a second straight game with a groin injury.

Last season's win was just the second by Baylor in 10 meetings between the teams.

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