Vanderbilt Basketball Quick Hitters: Alabama Edition

Greg Arias

Vanderbilt Basketball Quick Hitters

• The Commodores dropped to 8-9 overall and 0-4 in league play after a 66-45 loss to Tennessee Saturday night at Memorial Gym. Freshman Scotty Pippen Jr. led the Commodores in scoring with 16 points, with junior Saben Lee chipping in 14 points for the Commodores.

• Lee became the 49th player in Vanderbilt history to eclipse the 1,000-point barrier when he scored 14 points against Tennessee.

• The Commodores saw their streak of 1,080 consecutive games with a three pointer come to an end against Tennessee. Vanderbilt was one of only three schools (UNLV and Princeton) to have made a three-point basket since the inception of the three-point line in the 1986-87 season.

• It was announced before the Texas A&M game that Vanderbilt’s leading scorer Aaron Nesmith would be out indefinitely with a right foot injury. Prior to the injury, Nesmith led the SEC in scoring with 23.0 points per game and was fifth nationally. He also led the SEC and nation in 3FG/game with 4.29 and 3FG% at .522. He had also made an SEC-best 60 threes this season through 14 games. He also ranked eighth in free-throw percentage (.825) and field-goal percentage (.512) prior to his injury.

• Senior Clevon Brown is also out indefinitely after suffering a knee injury against Liberty on Dec. 14.

• With Nesmith out indefinitely, junior guard Saben Lee emerges as the team’s scoring leader. He is averaging 15.7 points and 4.8 assists per game, which ranks 10th and 4th in the SEC in all games, respectively. Lee is also sixth in field goal percentage (.503).

• Lee claimed SEC Player of the Week honors after his performance against Buffalo, becoming the first Commodore to win the award since Jeff Roberson on Feb. 19, 2018. Lee joins Scotty Pippen Jr. as weekly honorees from the SEC this season. Pippen Jr. was named the SEC Freshman of the Week on Nov. 25 when he averaged 17 points, 5.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game in two Commodore wins over Austin Peay and South Carolina State, respectively.

• Scotty Pippen Jr. is ranked in the top 10 in the SEC in assists/game (8th, 4.3), free throws made (4th, 73), free throws attempted (5th, 99), and assist-to-turnover ratio (8th, 1.66).

• The Commodores are a youthful bunch - in the last game against Arkansas, Vanderbilt started three true freshmen (Pippen Jr., Disu, Albert), a redshirt sophomore (Obinna), and a junior (Lee). True freshmen have accounted for 38% minutes played, and with Nesmith’s minutes taken away, freshmen have played 44% of minutes played. According to, Vanderbilt has 1.13 years of experience on its roster, which ranks 320th in Division I basketball.

• Nesmith scored 34 points twice this season - against UNC Wilmington on Dec. 21 and earlier this season at Richmond on Nov. 14. Nesmith’s performance against the Spiders was the most points by a Vanderbilt player since Shan Foster vs. Miss. State (3/5/08), and the most points by a Vanderbilt player on the road since Billy McCaffrey at Georgia (35, 2/24/93). Nesmith was the first Vanderbilt player since Shan Foster in 2008 to score 30 or more points in multiple games in a season.

• New head coach Jerry Stackhouse is the 28th men’s basketball coach in the history of Vanderbilt basketball. He is the first African American Commodore men’s basketball head coach and is one of two current African American head coaches in the Southeastern Conference (Cuonzo Martin, Missouri).

• As a team, the Commodores are second in the SEC in 3-point field goal percentage (.347), threes made/game (8.7), and total threes (148). Vanderbilt has been to the charity stripe 390 times this season, which ranks fourth in the SEC.

• The Commodores have had five first-round NBA Draft picks since 2012, the second-most in the SEC in that time span - Darius Garland (5th, Cleveland Cavaliers), Wade Baldwin IV (17th, Memphis Grizzlies), Damian Jones (30th, Golden State Warriors), and John Jenkins (23rd, Atlanta) and Festus Ezeli (30th, Golden State). Garland, Jones, and former standout Luke Kornet (Chicago Bulls) are all active players in the NBA.

Series Information

Series Record: Alabama leads, 70-69

Last Meeting: Alabama - W, 68-61

Feb. 23, 2019 - Tuscaloosa, Ala.

At Vanderbilt: Vanderbilt leads, 42-21

Jerry Stackhouse vs. Alabama: First meeting

Alabama Series Records/Important Dates

• Alabama leads the all-time series, 70-69. The Crimson Tide has won the last two games in the series. The series began in the 1923-24 season.

• Vanderbilt leads the series, 42-21, at games played at Vanderbilt. The Crimson Tide ended a three-game losing streak at Memorial Gym in 2019 with a 77-67 win on Feb. 9.

• 1.17.07 - The Commodores knocked off No. 10-ranked Alabama, 94-73, at Memorial Gym. Shan Foster scored 27 points to lead Vanderbilt, and the Commodores notched their second home upset of a ranked team in eight days. They beat then-No. 16 Tennessee 82-81 on Jan. 10.

• 1.05.05 - Vanderbilt defeated No. 19 Alabama, 70-56, at Memorial Gym.

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