NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Saben Lee scored a season-high 23 points, Joe Toye added a career-high 18 points and Vanderbilt beat Tennessee State 95-76 on Saturday.
Lee — a sophomore — hit 8 of 9 shots from the floor and 7 of 9 from the foul line. Lee has taken over point guard for freshman Darius Garland, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the fifth game against Kent State. Garland is projected as a lottery pick in the NBA Draft.
Toye, Vanderbilt’s only senior, hit four 3-pointers for the Commodores (8-3).
Vanderbilt’s Simi Shittu, also projected as a first-round pick in June’s NBA Draft, added 10 points and eight rebounds. Matthew Moyer, a 6-foot-8 Syracuse transfer, had 10 points for Vanderbilt as five Commodores scored in double figures, including Maxwell Evans with 10. In rebounding from last week’s loss to Kansas State in Kansas City, Vanderbilt shot 50 percent from the floor, a vast improvement from the 32-percent mark against Kansas State.
TSU (3-9) suffered its fourth straight loss, including three consecutive double-digit defeats under first-year coach Brian “Penny” Collins. The Tigers shot just 38 percent from the field. Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey and Armani Chaney led TSU with 16 points each. Chaney had four 3-pointers. Kamar McKnight added 10.
The Tigers made 5 of its first 7 shots from 3-point range to take a 17-7 lead early in the first half. Vanderbilt answered with a 16-1 run to take a 38-26 lead late in the half. Lee — the son of former NFL running back Amp Lee — threw down a one-handed dunk over a TSU defender in the middle of the lane energized the Commodores midway through the run. Vanderbilt used a 14-2 run to extend its lead to 66-47 midway through the second half.
Vanderbilt made 6 of 8 field goals during the run while TSU struggled through a 1-for-12 drought.
The Commodores outscored the Tigers 17-10 in points off turnovers.
Tennessee State: The Tigers fell to 1-7 on the road after fading in the second half.