Vanderbilt improves to 2-0 with win over Corpus Christi
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By CHIP CIRILLO
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Aaron Nesmith and Saben Lee are both off to a good start this season and so is Vanderbilt.
Nesmith scored 21 points and Lee came off the bench to score 15 with eight assists to lead the Commodores to a 71-66 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Monday night.
"(Nesmith) is a shooter and he's very fluid," Islanders coach Willis Wilson said. "He knows how to play slow to fast so he knows how to probe, he knows how to be patient, he knows where his shots come from and he knows how to get to those spots on the floor."
The Commodores improved to 2-0 under first-year coach Jerry Stackhouse, who inherited a team coming off the worst season in school history.
Vanderbilt rallied from a five-point deficit with a 10-0 run midway through the second half.
Clevon Brown, a 6-foot-8 forward from San Antonio, added 12 points for the Commodores, including four dunks in the second half and another in the first half. He grabbed eight rebounds.
"He's a guy that can play above the rim for us and he's good at relocating," Stackhouse said. "We work on those things every day, relocating, trying to get to the open spot where our penetrators can find him, and I thought they did a good job of finding him. That's how you want to work the game, inside-out."
Freshman point guard Scotty Pippen Jr. added 10 points for the Commodores.
Pippen, Nesmith and Lee have developed chemistry quickly.
"It's just having fun off the court," Nesmith said. "I think the closer you are off the court the better you're going to be on the court playing together as a whole."
Jashawn Talton-Torres led the Islanders (0-2) with 23 points, including five 3-pointers.
Corpus Christi's Nolan Bertain was carried off the court by two teammates, favoring his left leg with 4:07 left. He returned to the lineup by the end of the game.
Bertain and Myles Smith each added 11 points for the Islanders.
Corpus Christi went on an 11-0 run to take a 19-11 lead in the first half.
The Islanders hit seven of their first nine shots from 3-point range and held on for a 31-29 halftime lead.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi: The Islanders are still searching for their first win after fading late in the first half.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores are off to a good start with their new coach who played in the NBA for 18 seasons.
"A lot of our undoing had to do with us," Wilson said. "You're not going to win many games when you turn it over 21 times. The turnovers there at the end of the (first) half, along with fouls, allowed Vandy to chip away at a comfortable lead. Similar things happened in the second half, but we didn't have that same cushion."
Brown blocked his 100th shot, ranking him eighth in school history.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi hosts Stony Brook in the first round of the Islander Invitational on Friday.
Vanderbilt plays its first road game at Richmond (1-0) on Thursday. Richmond rallied from a 10-point deficit with 1:40 left to beat St. Francis (Pa.) in overtime in its opener Friday.
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Updated November 11, 2019