Columbia, MO (Sports Network) - After both teams recorded wins earlier this
week, the Vanderbilt Commodores and the 22nd-ranked Missouri Tigers try to
keep the momentum going on Saturday afternoon when they meet at Mizzou Arena
for an SEC tilt.
After losing its first three league matchups, Vanderbilt is coming off back-
to-back wins for just the second time this season following victories over
South Carolina (58-51) and most recently at home versus Auburn (73-61) on
Wednesday night. The Commodores are now 8-9 overall, and they have split four
true road games.
Missouri started the season off red-hot with wins in 10 of its first 11 games,
but it has since taken a tumble in the rankings with three losses since Dec.
28. Following an 83-52 setback at Florida last Saturday, the Tigers bounced
back with a 71-65 triumph over South Carolina on Tuesday to stay perfect at
Mizzou Arena (11-0).
Vanderbilt has won three of the five all-time meetings against Missouri, most
recently claiming an 85-82 overtime decision in Columbia on Dec. 8, 2010.
The Commodores have struggled to score points this season, ranking 13th in the
SEC with an average of only 59.8 ppg, and when they do win it's usually
because of their fourth-ranked scoring defense, which yields an average of
60.6 ppg. Their field goal percentage in their last outing was rather modest
(.408), but they were able to cruise to a 12-point victory behind an
outstanding 24-of-30 showing from the foul line. Kedren Johnson shot 8-of-10
from the stripe on his way to 15 points, while also adding team-highs in
assists (four) and rebounds (seven). Kyle Fuller (14 points) and Kevin Bright
(12 points) were impressive off the bench, and Sheldon Jeter added 10 points
in the victory. Johnson is Vanderbilt's top scorer at 15.1 ppg, and he adds
4.0 rpg, 3.3 apg and 1.5 spg for good measure. Fuller (10.8 ppg) and Odom (9.2
ppg) are also regular contributors to the lackluster offensive attack.
Missouri actually trailed by as many as 13 points to South Carolina in its
latest bout, but it mounted a furious comeback behind a 20-2 run and
ultimately escaped with the six-point win. Earnest Ross came off the bench to
tally 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Alex Oriakhi (18 points, 11 rebounds)
also recorded a double-double. Jabari Brown was far from his best from the
field (5-of-16), but he still finished with 17 points. The Tigers shoot 44.1
percent from the floor this season and a league-best 73.0 percent from the
foul line en route to 75.3 ppg, and they are one of the most balanced squads
in the nation with six players netting at least 8.9 ppg. They'll be
shorthanded in this matchup however, as Laurence Bowers (16.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg) is
out with a sprained knee and Keion Bell (8.9 ppg) is questionable with an
ankle injury. In their absences, Missouri will rely on Brown (14.4 ppg) and
Phil Pressey (11.9 ppg, SEC-best 7.2 apg) more than usual in the backcourt,
although neither shoots greater than 37 percent from the floor. Oriakhi (10.4
ppg) adds a team-high 8.4 rpg and 1.6 bpg, while Ross chips in 10.3 ppg and
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