NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Saben Lee scored a career-high 33 points and Vanderbilt upset No. 18 LSU 99-90 Wednesday night to end the Southeastern Conference’s longest regular season skid at 26 straight. It also gave first-year coach Jerry Stackhouse his first league victory.
The Commodores (9-13, 1-8 SEC) hadn’t beaten an SEC opponent since downing Ole Miss on March 3, 2018 — a span of 28 league games counting tournament losses. Vanderbilt has been playing without the SEC’s leading scorer Aaron Nesmith since the second game of league play this season.
Lee and Maxwell Evans, who had a career-high 31 points, teamed up to knock off the defending SEC champs. Scotty Pippen Jr. added 13 points, and Jordan Wright had 11 points for the Commodores.
LSU (17-5, 8-1) came in streaking, having won 13 straight SEC regular season games. The Tigers snapped that streak along with a 12-game streak on the SEC road, which had been the third-longest streak in school history. Coach Will Wade, a Nashville native, goes back home from Memorial Gym still looking for his first win in the league’s oldest gym.
Trendon Watford led LSU with a season-high 26 points. Emmitt Williams added 24, and Skylar Mays and Javonte Smart had 15 each for the Tigers.
LSU took its biggest lead of the first half on its opening bucket. The teams swapped the lead nine times with six ties before Evans helped Vanderbilt go up by as much as 13 as he hit 5 of 7 beyond the arc. Vanderbilt led 52-47 at halftime in a season where the Commodores finished two games scoring 50 or less.
The Commodores never led by more than seven in the second half. LSU scored nine straight to take its first lead since being up 32-31 with 6:44 left in the first half. Skylar Mays scored a three-point play to put LSU up 82-80 with 6:46 to go. He added a free throw to cap the spurt, giving the Tigers their biggest lead of the game at 83-80.
Vanderbilt answered with six straight to go up 86-83 on Scotty Pippen Jr.’s jumper with 3:46 remaining. The Commodores finished the game on a 19-7 run to snap their drought.
LSU: The Tigers also snapped a 10-game winning streak this season. They had a big advantage at the free throw line where they were 28 of 36. They also outrebounded Vandy 38-30 and had a 16-6 edge in second-chance points.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores may have been losing, but they still came in ranked second in the league making an average of 8.2 3-pointers per game and also with 173 total 3s. Evans finished 7 of 12 beyond the arc, and the Commodores went 12 of 30 from 3. They also outshot LSU 57.4% compared to 46.8%.