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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 15, 1:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Gymnasium (14,316) -- Nashville, Tennessee. Television: SEC Network. Home Record: TXAM 13-2, Vanderbilt 9-4. Away Record: TXAM 1-5, Vanderbilt 2-5. Neutral Record: TXAM 0-3, Vanderbilt 2-1. Conference Record: TXAM 5-6, Vanderbilt 5-6. Series Record: Vanderbilt leads, 3-0.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams situated in the middle of the SEC pack will square off at Memorial Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon, as the Vanderbilt Commodores play host to the Texas A&M Aggies.
Texas A&M has won two of its last three games, including a 83-73 home victory over LSU on Wednesday night to improve to 14-10 overall and 5-6 in the SEC. The Aggies haven't fared well on the road, however, going just 1-5 with five consecutive losses.
Vanderbilt had been rolling with four straight victories prior to its current two-game skid, having lost at home to Arkansas last Saturday (77-75) before dropping a 65-59 decision at South Carolina on Thursday. The Commodores are 13-10 overall and 5-6 in the league, while sporting an impressive 9-4 mark in Nashville.
The Commodores bested the Aggies earlier this season, winning 66-55 in College Station on Jan. 25, and they now own a 3-0 record in the all-time series.
The Aggies opened up a six-point lead at the half of their most recent contest and never relinquished that advantage down the stretch, extending their lead to as many as 15 late. They shot an impressive 48.3 percent from the field, including a red-hot 10-of-23 from 3-point range, and also won the rebounding battle, 39-32. Jamal Jones knocked down 5-of-10 from 3-point range on his way to a team-high 19 points. Kourtney Roberson tallied a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Davonte Fitzgerald came off the bench to score 11 points.
On the season, Texas A&M has stayed competitive thanks mostly to its strong defense, which ranks second in the SEC behind only Florida in scoring defense in allowing just 63.1 ppg. Unfortunately, its offensive production has not been up to par, as it shoots 43.1 percent from the field for 65.7 ppg. Jones pours in 12.3 ppg, and that number has jumped up to 15.5 ppg in league play, but he oftentimes hurts more than he helps with a poor field-goal percentage (.367). Roberson is a solid presence in the paint with 9.8 ppg (on 60.3 percent shooting) and 7.0 rpg, while Alex Caruso (8.0 ppg) hands out 4.6 apg.
The Commodores were locked up in a tight matchup with South Carolina for most of their latest contest and held a lead early in the second half, but the Gamecocks grabbed control of the game thanks to a 22-7 run and Vandy could not recover. The team shot 43.8 percent from the field, better than South Carolina's 37.5 percent, but they lost the rebounding battle, 45-31, and was outscored in second-chance points, 23-9. Kyle Fuller led all scorers with 20 points but did so on just 8-of-21 field-goal shooting. Damian Jones was outstanding in the paint with 16 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks, while Rod Odom pitched in 10 points.
Despite shooting a respectable 45.2 percent from the field this season, Vanderbilt only puts up 67.0 ppg. Luckily its stellar scoring defense (65.9 ppg) has kept it competitive in most games, although its poor rebounding (-1.5), turnover (-2.6) and free throw (.654) showings certainly give it an uphill battle. Odom is the top scorer (15.0 ppg) and rebounder (5.7 rpg) and has knocked down 69 3-pointers at a 43.7 percent clip. Fuller brings 12.1 ppg and 4.3 apg to the table, and Jones is solid down low with 11.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg and 1.4 bpg.
In a matchup between two low-scoring, inconsistent squads, Vanderbilt's homecourt advantage will be enough to lift it to victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Vanderbilt 65, Texas A&M 62
02/15 10:43:51 ET
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