This time Vanderbilt did not need to score a lot.
Kyle Fuller had a team-high 12 points as the Commodores, the Southeastern Conference’s lowest scoring team, got their first conference victory of the season, 58-51 at South Carolina on Saturday.
Vanderbilt (7-9, 1-3), one of four winless teams through the first three SEC games, went ahead to stay with a 10-point first-half run and held a surging South Carolina (11-6, 1-3) to two points in the final 2:56.
The Commodores’ point total actually was less than their season average coming into the contest (59.1). Still, they led by as many as 10 in the second half and turned back a Gamecocks’ rally that cut the margin to two twice, the second when Bruce Ellington’s basket made it 51-49.
As a team South Carolina made just 14 of 59 field goal attempts (23.7 percent) and four of 21 3-pointers (19.0 percent). The Gamecocks missed 11 straight shots during one first-half stretch. Brenton Williams made three of his team’s 3-pointers and led all scorers with 16 points.
Vanderbilt managed to get enough offense despite the fact that leading scorer Kedren Johnson missed all six of his shots and finished with just three points. The sophomore point guard did chip in eight rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot — all team-highs.
In addition to Fuller, who came off the bench for the second straight game, Dai-Jon Parker chipped in 11 points and three others contributed eight.
The Commodores made half of their free throws (five of 10) in the final minute and 20 of 33 for the game (60.6 percent), which was just enough to hang on to the lead. Notably, though, for one of the nation’s worst free throw soothing teams, Johnson made two after South Carolina cut it to two for the first time, 48-46, and Rod Odom made two after Ellington’s basket again got the Gamecocks within two.