1. Vanderbilt did not do the whole defense thing well to start the game. The Commodores continuously left wide open three-point shooters, A&M, in turn, made 3 of their first 4 shots from behind the arc. Even when the Aggies missed they grabbed the offensive rebound and converted it into an and-one opportunity.
2. Riley LaChance and Jeff Roberson have been dynamic for Vanderbilt all season, especially since fellow senior Matthew Fisher-Davis went down with a season-ending shoulder injury. Roberson was his usual self in the first half scoring 11 points on 4 of 9 shooting, while LaChance struggled to get going. LaChance didn’t score his first points of the game until 3:18 left in the first half. LaChance shot 1 of 7 from the floor in the half, recording 3 points. LaChance was much better in the second half, knocking down a couple of threes late into the ballgame to cut the Aggie lead to single-digits. LaChance finished the afternoon with 23 points on a 6 of 16 from the floor, while Roberson had another 21 point outing.
3. Texas A&M’s size was always going to be an issue for the Commodores. Tyler Davis, Robert Williams and Tonny Trocha-Morelos form what is likely the SEC’s best frontcourt. The absence of Djery Baptiste didn’t help Vanderbilt’s cause, leaving Clevon Brown and Ejeke Obinna as the lone frontline defense. The Aggies scored 22 of their 43 first half points in the paint. Obinna made things easier for the Aggies by picking up three fouls in seven minutes of play.
4. Vandy came into the game ranked 197th in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. So the defensive “effort” in the game wasn’t all that surprising but you’d still think that the Commodores could get a hand in the face of an Aggie shooter more than a handful of times in the game. By my count, Vanderbilt didn’t contest an open three-point shot until early in the second half. On that shot D.J. Hogg from A&M missed. Maybe a coincidence but that’s generally the result when a shooter is properly defended.
5. Defense wasn’t the only issue for the Commodores on the afternoon. Even had the Dores stayed in front of their man it wouldn’t have solved their issues offensively. Early in the second half, Vanderbilt went 5:53 without a field goal. During that stretch, the Commodores missed nine consecutive shots from the field, watching what was an 11 point Aggie lead swell to 22 points.
6. More most of the day, Texas A&M played like a team that was flat out better and more talented than Vanderbilt. The Aggies controlled the game from the onset and continued to fight for loose balls late into the second half up 20 points. Freshman point guard T.J. Starks was nearly perfect on the afternoon, making all six of his seven field goals and his three free throw attempts. More importantly for head coach Billy Kennedy, Starks didn’t have a turnover in his — minutes of play. Starks finished with 17 points just behind junior forward Tyler Davis’ team-high 21.
7. To their credit, Vanderbilt gave A&M a scare late, turning what was once a 24 point second half Aggie lead into a deficit of 4 with 36.6 left. Despite the ferocious comeback, the Dores fell short and are now locked into a Wednesday night start at the SEC tournament in St. Louis. The only question is whether the Commodores will play at 6:00 PM at the Scottrade Center or at approximately 8:30 PM later that night. The 13th and 14th place seeding will likely come down to next Saturday’s matchup at Ole Miss where the two teams will decide their preferred start times.