One Vanderbilt lapse let Xavier get back into the game. Another let the Musketeers steal a win.
The No. 20 Commodores blew a 10-point second half lead and fell 82-70 in overtime to No. 11 Xavier on Monday night at Memorial Gymnasium. The Musketeers scored 20 of the last 24 points over a nine-minute span that stretched into the extra period, where they outscored Vanderbilt 16-4.
“That was a real disappointing game to lose. We had it under control in the second half,” Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. “We had some of our reserves in and they just gave away the lead quickly. We had to put the starters back in. We fought to get it back. ... We just couldn’t get a bucket when we needed to at the end.”
Vanderbilt (5-2) had won four straight and led 51-42 with 13:08 remaining when the wheels came off. With two sophomores and two freshmen on the floor, the Commodores turned the ball over on three straight possessions, leading to six points of a 10-0 Xavier run. Travis Taylor’s putback with 11:51 left gave the Musketeers a 52-51 lead.
“They kind of revved up their defensive intensity for a while. We didn’t handle it to well in that period of time,” Vanderbilt forward Lance Goulbourne said. “The momentum definitely changed a little bit.”
Vanderbilt battled back and led by four points twice, including after John Jenkins’ catch-and-shoot 3-pointer with 3:56 left in regulation. The Commodores didn't score again before overtime, and Xavier (5-0) tied it with 6.5 seconds left on Mark Lyons' jumper after a Vanderbilt miss.
“With [Lyons] being able to go full steam in transition I thought he had [Brad] Tinsley on his heels a little bit,” Xavier coach Chris Mack said. “As he kept on driving and driving, I could sense he was trying to get to the basket and I just said, ‘We’re not going to be able to draw up anything better.’ Not with me on the sidelines. He gets there and finishes and thank heavens for soft rims.”
The Commodores — with an experienced group on the floor — still had one chance to win in regulation. Out of a timeout, Tinsley pushed the ball up the floor but had it knocked away on his way up for a shot. Goulbourne grabbed it and threw up a prayer. The shot bounced off the backboard and glanced off the front of the rim as the buzzer sounded.
Senior forward Steve Tchiengang admitted he forgot to set a screen that would have freed up Tinsley for a better shot.
“It is a play we work on all the time in practice, and we had a guy who didn’t do what he was supposed to do,” Stallings said. “So that’s discouraging when you have four seniors and a junior out there.”
Xavier’s Tu Holloway, the 2010-11 Atlantic-10 Conference player of the year, made just four of 16 shots in regulation but scored 10 points in overtime and finished with a game-high 24. He hit two straight 3-pointers to give his team an eight-point lead with 2:32 to go in the extra period. Lyons finished with 19.
Jenkins led Vanderbilt with 20 points and Goulbourne matched a career-high with 18. Jeffery Taylor also had 18 points but scored just six after halftime.
In addition to giving Xavier 22 points off 18 turnovers — 12 after the break — the Commodores were beat on the boards. They lost the rebounding battle 54-33 and Xavier grabbed 25 offensive boards. Former Vanderbilt forward Andre Walker had a career-high 14 rebounds in addition to six points.
“Their offensive rebounding really hurt us and that is a big disappointment,” Stallings said.
Just about as disappointing as Vanderbilt’s two late lapses — both equally painful.