Commodores trying to stay confident after tying SEC losing streak

Chaunte'l Powell

It was a record the Vanderbilt Commodores were hoping to avoid, but Saturday night’s 90-64 loss to South Carolina tied them for worst SEC losing streak at 23.

“I think it is what it is. It’s not a record that we’re proud of, but we have to own it,” head coach Jerry Stackhouse said after the game.

The Commodores haven’t exactly been dealt the easiest hand as they continue to play without leading scorer and potential NBA draft prospect Aaron Nesmith and Saturday showed it’s still going to be an uphill battle.

The Commodores got to the free throw line 23 times in the first half, but shot 9-of-26 from the field and 2-of-13 from three. As a result, they fell behind early and were never able to recover. Stackhouse said that’s one of the growing pains they’re having to deal with at the moment.

“We’re getting good looks, we’re just not knocking them down,” he said. “This has been happening to us for, probably, the last two or three games. It’s still a little bit of a hangover of us trying to figure out life without Aaron, but that’s what it is right now.”

He added that the energy is there.

“Our guys are playing hard, I have no issue with the effort. We’ve just gotta see the ball go through the hoop a little more,” he said.

The Commodores are now 8-11 on the year and 0-6 in conference play, but Stackhouse said there has been growth.

 “We know that there’s a brighter day ahead. Our guys are getting better,” he said. “We’re getting some guys experience that wouldn’t get any otherwise. I tell them all the time, hopefully in two, three years, freshmen will be playing about ten minutes a game. Right now they’re having to play 30, but I think that’s where we are right now as we’re building and we got some help on the way, but we’re just focusing on that and trying to take it one game at a time and make sure we stay confident.”

Given the circumstances and the overall youth of his team, Stackhouse said the situation could easily get worse, but he feels his team is handling it well.

“It’s easy for guys lose their confidence in a situation like this, but I think they respect their work and come to practice and try to get better,” he said. “Every game is a new game and that’s how we approach it.”

As they move forward, Stackhouse said it’s all about not letting the streak overshadow their goals as a team.

“For us it’s about trying to figure out how we can keep going about our business and improving,” he said. “These guys have aspirations to play beyond just this season and this year. So we’re just going to try and continue to improve and hopefully it comes together for us where we see the ball go through the hole a little more than we are and put together a game defensively that’s a little more consistent than it’s been the last couple games.”