NASHVILLE, Tenn.- After two straight disappointing performances on the road, No.16 Vanderbilt needed a win to stop the bleeding. The Commodores did just that, running away from visiting LSU in a 92-76 win Saturday at Memorial Gym.
The Commodores had averaged more than 20 turnovers a game in the last five games. But VU avoided the turnover bug, committing a season-low eight turnovers in the win.
Vanderbilt seniors Shan Foster, Alex Gordon and Ross Neltner led the way as Foster and Gordon each scored 18 and Neltner scored a season-high 16 points, grabbed five rebounds and added two steals. Foster and Gordon combined to hit on 8-of-15 attempts from behind the arc, while Neltner was 6-of-8 from the field.
Commodore sophomore point guard Jermaine Beal tied a career-high in dishing out nine assists and added 10 points and three boards.
Both teams got off to a slow start, with Vanderbilt leading just 16-15 at the 12:38 mark. The Tigers took a 23-20 lead with 10:19 to go before Commodore freshman forward Darshawn McClellan scored a layup and converted a free throw to tie the game at 23. A McClellan 3-pointer capped a 20-5 VU run to build a 43-28 lead with two minutes left in the half.
LSU cut the lead down to just 43-33 going into the half, but got no closer than nine down in the second half. VU led by as many as 23 points to cruise to the win.
"I was afraid that our confidence would be a little bit down. I liked the energy that we played with, the aggressiveness and pushing the ball. I thought we played free on offense and by that I mean, I just thought they were loose and aggressive.
"We took great care of the ball, which was nice to finally see," he continued. "I didn't think we were quite as sharp defensively as I would've hoped for, but nevertheless, I thought that our ability to push the tempo and push the speed of the game worked out in our favor.
"I'm proud of the way they played. I thought Ross (Neltner) was terrific. I thought Red (Alex Gordon) was very good and had a lot of balance. And obviously you look down and see that Jermaine's got nine assists and no turnovers, that's a pretty good day for a point guard."
The Tigers were led by freshman sensation Anthony Randolph's 14 points and 19 rebounds while junior college transfer Marcus Thornton led all scorers with 27 points.
With today's 18 point performance, Shan Foster passed former Commodore greats Drew Maddux, Clyde Lee and Mike Rhodes on the Vanderbilt all-time scoring list. Foster now sits alone at fourth all-time with 1,702 career points.
"We knew that we hadn't played up to our standard in those two games and we got beat" Stallings said. "And that's what should happen when you go on the road and play good teams in tough environments, you should lose if you don't play up to a high level. So it was important that we come out today and re-establish kind of who were are and who we want to be."
Vanderbilt, which moved to 17-2, has eight days off before traveling to Gainesville to face Florida. Tip-off is set for 12 p.m. Central. The Gators, 15-3 on the season, are undefeated at the O'Connell Center since February 22, 2006.