COLUMBIA — Vanderbilt forward Rod Odom hit six 3-pointers on his way to 24 points and Missouri lost 78-75 to a Commodores team with just seven scholarship players Thursday in Nashville.
Missouri coach Frank Haith said earlier this week that he didn't want the Tigers settling for 3-pointers against Vanderbilt's extensive zone defense.
Vandy, meanwhile, settled for 3s on offense and burned the Tigers in the process. The Commodores notched their first Southeastern Conference win of the season thanks to a relentless deep-range attack in which they made 12 of 32 treys. That's just 37.5 percent, but the Commodores were persistent enough to make it hurt.
In a game of runs, Vanderbilt kept Missouri at arms length. The Commodores opened the game on a 17-5 run and maintained the lead until early in the second half. Both teams shot an ugly 39 percent, but Vanderbilt made the difference beyond the arc, hitting twice as many 3s as Missouri's six.
An Odom dagger 3 from the left wing with two minutes to go extended Vanderbilt's lead to 66-59. Odom’s shot was high and true and released without the annoyance of a defender in its way, as many of Vanderbilt’s shots were.
Odom and senior guard Kyle Fuller, who scored 22 points, combined for 10 3-pointers on 23 attempts.
“Odom was moving a lot to get open shots, causing a lot of defensive confusion,” Tigers guard Jordan Clarkson said. “We lost it on the defensive end.”
Jabari Brown led the Tigers with 22 points, and was the only piece of Missouri's usually potent three-headed attack to make a 3-pointer.
Clarkson finished with 18 points, but he and Earnest Ross went a combined 0-11 from deep. No Tiger besides Brown could find a rhythm inside the unconventional confines of Memorial Stadium, which features an elevated floor and team benches on the baselines.
“With coach behind the basket, we were playing away from him in the first half,” Clarkson said. “That was weird. We was calling our own offense a lot of the time.”
Missouri shot 26 percent from 3-point range, and didn’t garner much better results when going to the hoop. Both Clarkson and Johnathan Williams III missed multiple shots near the rim, with Williams III whiffing on a two-handed dunk and a wide-open layup.
"We ain’t perfect; we human too,” Clarkson said. “We’re gonna miss shots.”
The loss dropped Missouri to 1-2 in the SEC.
The Tigers took a one-point lead two minutes into the second half when Williams tipped in a Clarkson miss in transition. Vanderbilt forward James Siakim countered with a tough layup in traffic to give the Commodores a 41-40 advantage.
The two teams traded leads for two minutes before Fuller put Vanderbilt up for good with a floater, 45-44. Fuller may have gotten away with a traveling violation on the play, and the Commodores used the break to their advantage. An Odom 3-pointer from the wing extended the lead to 48-44 with 13:15 to play.
“We thought we were going to hold on to it,” Clarkson said. “It’s definitely a disappointment. This was a game we should have won.”
After Vanderbilt jumped out to an early 12-point advantage, the Tigers responded with a 14-4 run over the next eight minutes to get within two points, down 21-19 with 8:23 left in the half.
Vanderbilt missed three 3-pointers in a row over that stretch, then started hitting again. The Commodores led by 10 points at intermission after finishing the first half on a 16-8 run highlighted by three 3-pointers and an explosive alley-oop in transition from Fuller to Siakam.
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