A late rally by Vanderbilt was not enough to make up for a pivotal lapse at the first half.
The Commodores surrendered 16 straight points before halftime but roared back — almost all the way —in a 57-56 loss at LSU on Wednesday night.
Vanderbilt junior Rod Odom led all scorers with a career-high 20 points and drained three straight 3-pointers in the final 21 seconds. His last came at the buzzer after LSU’s Johnny O’Bryant made two free throws for a four-point lead with 7.2 seconds left.
The Commodores (8-13, 2-7 Southeastern Conference) dropped their fourth straight and seventh in nine games. They took an 18-15 lead on two free throws by Sheldon Jeter with 3:52 left before the wheels came off.
Anthony Hickey, who led the Tigers with 14 points, made a 3-pointer on the next possession to tie the game and start the 16-0 run. Vanderbilt missed its next five shots while LSU (13-7, 4-5) made five straight. Hickey capped off the spurt with a 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 31-18 halftime lead.
Vanderbilt shot just 31.5 from the field and made only eight of 29 3-pointers but slowly chipped away in the second half.
The Commodores pulled within four, 51-47, on Kevin Bright’s 3-pointer with 1:38 to go. LSU responded by making three of four free throws for a 54-47 lead with 1:01 to go.
That’s when Odom began to connect. After missing his first two, he made his final 3, including a shot in the corner to pull within 55-53. O’Bryant then calmly sank both free throws to seal the victory.
Odom, who was reinserted into the starting lineup, scored 17 points after halftime. Dai-Jon Parker, playing in his hometown of Baton Rouge, added 11 points and nine rebounds.
Vanderbilt returns to Nashville for a three-game homestand, beginning on Saturday against Arkansas. The Razorbacks upset No. 2 Florida 80-69 on Tuesday. Arkansas defeated Vanderbilt 56-33 on the road last month.