Vanderbilt guard John Jenkins scored 12 points and Team USA rallied to defeat Israel 94-84 in its final game of pool play at the World University Games on Thursday in Shenzhen, China.
Jenkins, a rising junior, was 5-of-13 from the field, and 2-of-5 from 3-point range as the Americans overcame a 43-41 halftime deficit.
The score stayed close through most of the third quarter, with the U.S. clinging to a 56-53 lead with 4:03 left in the period. But the Americans went on a 10-0 run led by Alabama’s JaMychal Green, who finished with a team-high 16 points.
“In the second half, [USA coach Matt Painter of Purdue] got into us a little bit and we took that challenge,” Jenkins said. “We hadn’t really had any adversity since we’ve been here. So we got that first taste of adversity and I think we did well getting through it.”
The U.S. finished pool play 5-0 and advanced to the medal round.
The Americans, the No. 1 seed from Group D, will play Group C’s No. 2 seed, Lithuania (4-1), at 5 a.m. (CST) on Saturday. Semifinals are on Sunday with the finals on Monday.
Jenkins, a Station Camp grad, has scored 12 points in his last three games and is averaging nearly 13 points.
• Schedule released: There will be plenty of late nights for the Vanderbilt men’s basketball team this season.
The Southeastern Conference released its schedule on Thursday and the Commodores have six games at 8 p.m. (CST). They also play on four Tuesdays and 11 of their 16 league games will be aired nationally on either the ESPN Family of Networks or CBS.
For the last time. the SEC will have a balanced division league schedule as it was decided during the offseason to drop the two divisions. Vanderbilt will host SEC West opponents Auburn, Mississippi State and LSU and travel to Alabama, Auburn and Ole Miss.
The Commodores will continue to play every SEC East opponent twice.
With ESPN’s College GameDay on hand on Feb. 12, they will host Kentucky at 8 p.m. Vanderbilt heads to historic Rupp Arena in Lexington two weeks later on Feb. 25 for an 11 a.m. showdown, which will be televised by CBS.
Tennessee comes to Memorial Gymnasium at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 24 (ESPNU), and the Commodores head to Knoxville for the regular-season finale at 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 3.
The Southeastern Conference tournament will run through March 8-12 and will be held in New Orleans for the first time since 2003. The New Orleans Arena will serve as the host for the first time as the Louisiana Superdome had been home to previous tournaments.