Vanderbilt beats Western Michigan 86-61
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Wade Baldwin IV got Vanderbilt back in a winning frame of mind Wednesday night in its final tuneup for the Southeastern Conference schedule.
The sophomore point guard scored 15 points and tied a career high with 10 assists, leading Vanderbilt to an 86-61 win over Western Michigan.
Vanderbilt (8-4) hosts Louisiana State in a Southeastern Conference opener Saturday.
''I thought Wade was terrific in transition,'' Commodores coach Kevin Stallings said. ''I thought his ability to get down and beat the defense before it got set was impressive. I liked our look tonight.''
Riley LaChance and Nolan Cressler each added 14 for the Commodores, who shot 52 percent from the floor.
LaChance was held scoreless for the first time in his career in a loss at Purdue eight days earlier. He scored a career-high 26 in a win over Purdue in 2014.
Damian Jones scored 13 points and became the 44th Commodore to score 1,000 career points, reaching 1,006.
Jeff Roberson added 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Commodores (8-4), who hit 11 of 30 shots from 3-point range.
Western Michigan (5-7) made only 2 of 18 from beyond the 3-point arc.
''When you look at the final score here, (Vanderbilt) outscored us by 27 from the 3-point line and we lost by 25,'' Broncos coach Steve Hawkins said. ''It doesn't exactly take Aristotelian logic to tell you that's where the game was.''
Thomas Wilder led the Broncos with 21 points and Tucker Haymond added 18.
Vanderbilt's 25-point win comes on the heels of a 68-55 loss at No. 14 Purdue on Dec. 22 in the Commodores' lowest-scoring game of the season.
''We feel like we're a pretty good shooting team so if anybody's open we tell people not to hesitate and take the shot,'' Roberson said. ''That's what we work on.''
LaChance scored seven straight points for the Commodores on two foul shots, a layup and a 3-pointer, giving Vanderbilt at 52-40 lead with 13:32 left.
Freshman Joe Toye energized the crowd of 10,092 with two straight dunks, increasing the Commodores' lead to 61-44 with 9:41 left.
''I think our spark moment was the two real athletic plays by Joe Toye,'' Baldwin said. ''It kind of boosted us and made us play a little harder.''
Vanderbilt jumped to a 15-6 lead on Matthew Fisher-Davis' 3-pointer with 15:15 left in the first half as the Commodores hit six of their first eight shots, including three 3-pointers.
Western Michigan narrowed the deficit to three, but the Commodores answered with a 17-5 run to take a 32-17 lead on two free throws by Jeff Roberson with 5:11 left in the half.
Vanderbilt took a 37-28 advantage on Jones' foul shot with 37.8 seconds left in the half and the Commodores held a nine-point cushion at halftime.
Vanderbilt improved to 14-1 against the Mid-American Conference.
The Broncos fell to 0-4 in road games this season after shooting just 37 percent from the floor.
Vanderbilt freshman Cam Justice scored three points on 1 of 5 shooting from the floor in his return after missing the previous five games with a groin injury.
Vanderbilt lost four of its previous six games. The Commodores had fallen into an offensive slump since 7-foot-1 forward Luke Kornet tore the MCL in his left knee four games ago.
Three of Vanderbilt's losses this season were against top 25 opponents.
The Commodores have won 202 of their last 225 games against non-conference opponents at Memorial Gym for an 89.8 winning percentage.
Western Michigan: The Broncos played their fourth game in Nashville this season after losing two of three at the Challenge in the Music City during the Thanksgiving break at Municipal Auditorium.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores' only other game against the Broncos was a 71-58 win in the first round of the 2004 NCAA Tournament after Western Michigan won its first Mid-American Conference Tournament title.
SHARING THE BALL
Vanderbilt had 22 assists to Western Michigan's eight. ''I thought for the first time in a long time we shared the ball with purpose and really shared it on time,'' Stallings said.
Baldwin had 10 assists and LaChance had eight.
Western Michigan hosts Jacksonville on Saturday in their final non-conference game before the start of Mid-American Conference play.
Vanderbilt hosts Louisiana State in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams Saturday.