By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — The Vanderbilt Commodores continued the second leg of their current SEC road trip Wednesday seeking a victory at South Carolina. They also hoped to correct problems that have caused them to lose four of their first six SEC games (10-8 overall). Against Tennessee at home Jan. 18 they rallied to trim a 14-point deficit to two, but then key fouls and missed shots led to a 68-60 loss. Saturday they had one of the season’s most dismal performances to date, losing at Florida 61-42.
Vanderbilt won’t win many games when their leading scorer and best player Scotty Pippen Jr. has a bad game. Against the Gators he got into foul trouble in the first half and was totally ineffective in the second. He scored only six points, missed nine of 10 shots from the floor, and made only three of six from the foul line.
His inability to score mirrored the dismal efforts of his teammates. The Commodores only made 12 of 23 free throws. They went scoreless for 11 minutes in the second half and at one point missed 10 straight shots. They scored only 14 total points over the final 20 minutes, making just three field goals. Vanderbilt had only 12 turnovers, but those were turned into 23 Florida points. They forced only eight Gator turnovers. Florida also hit nine of 36 three-pointers.
Vanderbilt hoped to correct things against South Carolina, who defeated them 72-70 at home Jan. 5. Then they have Georgia at home Saturday. The Bulldogs are one of the two SEC teams the Commodores have beaten. They snapped a long losing streak in Athens 73-66 Jan. 15.