Sheldon Jeter’s career night wasn’t complete.
After scoring a personal-best 14 points in a 64-50 victory over William & Mary on Wednesday night, Vanderbilt’s freshman forward got a front-row seat for Kevin Stallings fireworks.
Leading by 12 points with 1:08 left, the Commodores’ veteran coach called a timeout to express his displeasure with his team’s complacent play. He attempted to drive home his point by emphatically slamming down his whiteboard. The clipboard smashed in half and the dry erase marker broke into several pieces, scattering across the Memorial Gymnasium floor.
“I thought they were about to get beat up,” Jeter said. “I’ve seen Coach spaz out but I’ve never seen him break a clipboard.”
Sophomore guard Dai-Jon Parker was astonished if that was indeed the first broken clipboard of the season, wondering how many Stallings has shattered in his 20-year coaching career. Stallings, who became the all-time wins leader at Memorial Gymnasium on Wednesday, suggested investing in cheaper whiteboards, especially with a young team.
But Jeter provided a positive glimpse into the future against William & Mary (7-5). Usually a small forward, he played up one position and excelled.
He scored seven straight points twice, with the last stretch allowing the Commodores (6-6) to pull away in their final non-conference game. Ahead 37-33, he drained a 3-pointer in the corner — although the video board showed he was inside the arc — and later tipped in a miss. He missed both free throws on the back end of those shots, contributing to another poor performance at the foul line (eight of 16) that Stallings described as redundant.
With 10:33 left, Jeter showed off his athleticism by driving the base line and banking in a layup for a 44-35 lead.
He made his first six shots before missing his last while logging a career-high 21 minutes. He eclipsed his previous season-high of six points in a two-minute spurt in the first half.
“We were sure pleased with his play, with his shooting,” Stallings said. “He played well and we felt like he was one of our best five players [Wednesday].”
Rod Odom and Kedren Johnson scored 12 points apiece and each contributed a 3-pointer late as the Commodores made their final four treys. They struggled from outside early, missing 13 straight into the second half.
They rode their defense as their length bothered the Tribe, who shot just 34 percent (16 of 47). Vanderbilt also tied a season-high with 10 blocks to snap a two-game losing streak. The win also gave Stallings 182 victories at Memorial Gymnasium. He passes the late Roy Skinner, who coached 16 seasons between 1959-76.
And even though the historic win was in the bag Stallings didn’t want his team thinking that way. So he showed them lackadaisical play wouldn’t cut it — especially with defending national champ Kentucky coming to town in eight days to start Southeastern Conference play.
“There was just complete casual careless ball care,” Stallings said. “There are some things that happen because you are young and inexperienced. We’re not going to be casual around here. That’s not how we’re going to play. That’s not what we’re going to settle for. I needed to make a point.”