The Vanderbilt Commodores earned a signature win and their first over a ranked team in years by taking down the Texas A&M Aggies 77-60 last night in Nashville.
Vandy came out hot, running up a 14-1 lead over the first three and a half minutes before A&M was even able to make a field goal. TAMU charged back and even took a lead around the midway point of the first half, and they held it until a Wade Baldwin IV three pointer took it back with 4:32 to go. Another Baldwin triple right before halftime gave his team a seven-point lead going into the break.
From there, Vanderbilt largely cruised. It started the second half hot as well, scoring the first eight points of the period, and an overall 12-2 run over the first five minutes decided things. That gave Vandy a commanding 53-35 advantage, and the Aggies were unable to cut the lead to single digits at any point thereafter.
The Commodores torched A&M's normally stout defense with 50.8% shooting from the field, including 44.8% from long distance. Jeff Roberson made eight of his ten shots and led the team with 20 points. Both he and Baldwin made three triples on the night, and Luke Kornet hit four of his own. Damian Jones also turned in a double-double for VU, scoring 13 while grabbing ten rebounds. Tonny Trocha-Morelos scored 13 off the bench to lead Texas A&M, with Alex Caruso's 11 and Danuel House's ten being the only other double digit scoring totals. Jalen Jones had a miserable night from the field, making just one of his 13 field goal attempts.
The last time the 'Dores beat a ranked team was when they beat Kentucky for the 2012 SEC Tournament title. This win alone won't secure an NCAA Tournament bid, but it boosts the resume quite a bit. As of now, the Commodores are the clear fourth-best team in the SEC according to the KenPom ratings and their RPI rating of 63 that they went into yesterday with is sure to rise.
Vandy will need to avoid doing something dumb like, say, losing on the road at Auburn or Mississippi State later this month. But if the Commodores get at least one win out of their remaining big SEC games—at Florida on 2/24, home against Kentucky on 2/27, and at A&M on 3/5—and don't flame out in their first SEC Tournament game, they'll have a pretty good shot of going dancing for the first time since the year they won that conference tournament title.