NASHVILLE, Tenn — Vanderbilt star Darius Garland left early with an injury and Jaylin Walker scored 22 points as Kent State handed the Commodores their first loss with a 77–75 victory Friday at the Commodore Classic.
Jalen Avery and C.J. Williamson both scored 18 points for Kent State (5-1), which made 12 of 24 shots from 3-point range.
Walker and Avery both made four 3-pointers.
Simi Shittu led Vanderbilt (4-1) with 20 points and eight rebounds, and Joe Toye added 15 points.
The Commodores rallied in the second half, but couldn't catch the Golden Flashes.
Vanderbilt's Saben Lee scored 13 points, but missed two crucial foul shots during the final minutes.
Kent State scored 16 points off turnovers.
Garland, Vanderbilt's point guard who entered the game as the Southeastern Conference's third-leading scorer (19.8 points per game), left with a left knee injury two minutes into the first half.
The freshman NBA prospect appeared to injure the knee after a hard landing following a layup.
Garland scored a career-high 33 points in Monday's win over Liberty.
He was a five-star prospect and McDonald's All-American at nearby Brentwood Academy last season. Garland and Shittu formed the heart of Vanderbilt's best recruiting class in school history.
Powered by nine 3-pointers in the first half, Kent State took a 41-34 lead at the break.
Kent State: The Flashes got a big road win against a highly touted SEC opponent.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores' biggest concern is the status of Garland, their versatile guard.
Kent State: The Golden Flashes visit Detroit Mercy on Wednesday in the second of a two-game road trip.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores host Savannah State on Tuesday in the finale of a four-game homestand.