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Live Game Thread and Preview: Mizzou heads to Vanderbilt in a battle to get out of the bottom of the SEC

The Tigers embark to Nashville with hopes of ending a eight-game losing streak.

Cal Tobias/Rock M Nation

Final: Vanderbilt 68, Missouri 61

1st Half

Starters: Jordan Butler, Nick Honor, Noah Carter, Sean East II, and Tamar Bates.

  • Noah Carter slam dunk just six seconds in. 2-0 Mizzou.
  • Following a Vanderbilt score, Noah Carter, grabbed a board off a Nick Honor miss and finished underneath the bucket. Carter is on fire as he engineered five more points after. 9-2 Mizzou.
  • Both teams are pushing the pace early hungry for their first league win. Tigers lead 11-6.
  • Sean East II hits a short jumper. 13-6 Mizzou.
  • Tyrin Lawrence is down for Vanderbilt holding his left leg. Mizzou leads at the under 16 timeout 15-6.
  • Sean East II knocks down a 3-pointer. His first. Mizzou leads 20-9.
  • Vanderbilt cuts it to five with a Evan Taylor 3-pointer. Tigers lead 20-15.
  • Sean East II is a bit banged up holding his left knee. He’s being helped to the sideline by Dennis Gates and another Missouri staffer.
  • Mizzou started 9-of-13 from the field but has missed its last five shots.
  • And Vanderbilt cuts it to one. It's a 10-0 run by the Commodores.
  • Aidan Shaw ends around a six-minute scoring drought. Mizzou leads 22-21.
  • Sean East II is back in.
  • And East scores on a back door cut. 24-21 Mizzou.
  • Vanderbilt takes the lead with a Tyrin Lawrence layup. 25-24 Vanderbilt.
  • Carter tied it up, but Vanderbilt responded on back-to-back offensive trips. Vanderbilt has its largest lead of 30-25.
  • Carter, with his 12th points, cuts it to three.
  • Carter, two free throws, its a one-point point game.
  • Ven-Alle Lubin extends it back to three with a jumper over Mabor Majak.
  • Halftime: Vanderbilt 32, Missouri 29.

2nd Half

  • Vanderbilt comes out on a 4-0 run. Its lead is extended to 36-29.
  • Evan Taylor forces Missouri to call a timeout after a jumper. 39-28 Vanderbilt.
  • Noah Carter ends a 8-0 Vandy run with a 3-pointer. 38-32.
  • Curt Lewis cuts it to six with a pair of free throws.
  • Noah Carter goes over 20 points off free throws. Vanderbilt still leads 42-37.
  • Tamar Bates hits his first 3-pointer. It’s a four-point game.
  • Both teams haven’t done much, but Isaiah West hit his fourth 3-pointer extending Vandy’s lead to seven.
  • Tamar Bates cuts it back to five. 47-42 Vanderbilt.
  • Nick Honor finally comes alive by hitting a 3-pointer. Vandy leads 51-47 with under six minutes to play.
  • But on the other end, Curt Lewis fouls Tyrin Lawrence on a 3-pointer.
  • After Vanderbilt went back up by six, Bates proceeded to go on a quick 4-0 run. Missouri has made five of its last six. Vandy’s lead cut to 53-51.
  • Missouri isn’t going away. Nick Honor hit his second 3-pointer cutting it to 57-54 with under three to play.
  • Nick Honor drew a foul, got shaken up. He knocks down a pair of free throws. 57-56 Vanderbilt.
  • Taylor hits a tough fadeaway shot over Noah Carter. Back to a three-point game.
  • Tyrin Lawrence hits a jumper over Nick Honor with the shot clock expiring. Commodores lead 61-56 with under a minute to play.
  • Bates cuts it back to three with 32 seconds to play.
  • It’s not over yet. Nick Honor knocked down a 3-pointer with 12 seconds.
  • Final: Vanderbilt 68, Missouri 61.

Pregame Updates

Today’s Preview

Missouri (8-13, 0-8 Southeastern Conference) heads back on the road for the third time in its last four games. The opponent on Saturday is Vanderbilt, a team that’s also had its struggles for the 2023-24 season.

The Commodores (5-15, 0-7) are also winless in SEC play and non-conference play wasn’t nice to them, either. Vanderbilt fell to Presbyterian to open up the season while also falling to the likes of Arizona State, Boston College, San Francisco, Texas Tech and Western Carolina. Of note, the Commodores battled Memphis to only a two-point loss. Its wins include victories over Alabama A&M, SC Upstate, UNC-Greensboro, Central Arkansas (by four), and Dartmouth.

In Vanderbilt’s previous matchup, it fell to Auburn 81-54 on the road.

Both teams are hungry for SEC victory No. 1 and only one will remain after Saturday.

Game Info

Time: 2:30 p.m. CST

Date: Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024

Location: Memorial Gymnasium, Nashville, Tn.

TV: SEC Network

The Starters


G: Nick Honor (Grad, 10.2 PPG)

G: Sean East II (Grad, 16 PPG)

G: Tamar Bates (Jr, 13.8 PPG)

F: Noah Carter (Grad, 11.6 PPG)

F: Jordan Butler (Fr, 2.0 PPG)


G: Ezra Manjon (Grad, 14.6 PPG)

G: Evan Taylor (Grad, 8.2 PPG)

G: Jordan Williams (Soph, 1.6 PPG)

G: Tyrin Lawrence (Sr, 14.2 PPG)

F: Ven-Allen Lubin (Soph, 10.1 PPG)

Notable Sixth Man: Jason Rivera-Torres (Fr, 8.2 PPG)

*These are projected starters. Also, in today’s college basketball, positions rarely mean much. Those are included purely for perspective on what matchups on the court may look like.

Get to know Vanderbilt

NCAA Basketball: Tennessee at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Whether it’s college basketball fans, NBA fans, or just overall basketball savants, people know the name. Jerry Stackhouse.

As a player and consensus All-American, Stackhouse averaged nearly 16 points and seven rebounds per game in two seasons at North Carolina, led by then-the-legendary Dean Smith. His talents led him to be the third overall player selected in the 1995 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, ahead of Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett.

In 18 seasons (that’s a long time) in the NBA, Stackhouse averaged 16.9 points while being named a two-time All-Star with the Detroit Pistons. He finished 14th in the 2001 NBA MVP voting after scoring 29.8 points per contest.

Two years after retiring, Stackhouse joined the coaching ranks. becoming an assistant for the Toronto Raptors before becoming the head man of its G-League squad, Raptors 905, where he was named the D-League coach of the year in 2017.

He spent the 2018-19 season as an assistant for the Memphis Grizzlies before heading to Nashville on April 5, 2019, where he became the head coach of Vanderbilt.

His tenure as the Commodores coach has been met with ups and downs. After two years of sub-.500 play, he led Vandy to the NIT twice in 2022 and 2023 where the Commodores reached the quarterfinals both times.

NCAA Basketball: Vanderbilt at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

As for Stackhouse’s team, the pieces that held them together so well last season are no longer present. During the 2022-23 season, Vanderbilt ranked in the top 100 in terms of 3-pointers attempted and made, but Jordan Wright, Myles Stute, and Trey Thomas, Vandy’s leaders in that category, are gone. The Commodores were also top-100 in rebounds and shots blocked, but they no longer have a Liam Robbins on the roster.

This has surely caused them to slip far down the rankings in these statistics. Vanderbilt is 258th in made 3-pointers, 199th in rebounds (Missouri doesn’t fare better at 341st) and 231st in blocks. In terms of offensive and defensive efficiency, Vandy ranks 232nd and 165th, respectively, according to KenPom.

Ezra Manjon and Tyrin Lawrence are the lone key contributors from last year’s squad.

Manjon averages a team-high 14.6 points per game, while Lawrence isn’t far behind with 14.2 per contest. The guard combo has made up 37% of the Commodores scoring this season, while Lawrence has led the way with 83 rebounds.

Out of the transfer portal, 6-8 forward Van-Allen Lubin has been a bright spot for Vanderbilt since arriving from Notre Dame after his freshman year. He’s increased his production, averaging 10.1 points and 5.6 boards per contest. Also out of the portal is grad transfer Evan Taylor. The former Lehigh Mountain Hawk leads the Commodores with 28 3-pointers that are shot at a 30.4% clip.

Off the bench first is Jason Rivera-Torres. A 4-star prospect out of Richmond, Virginia, the 6-foot-6 freshman has really been the only reliable scoring option on the Vanderbilt bench. He opened SEC play with four straight games reaching double-figures.

3 Keys to Victory

Don’t give away points to Vanderbilt

Just looking at the final score, Arkansas had its best offensive output against a Power Six team this season while shorthanded. This isn’t taking anything away from the Razorbacks' performance, but the Tigers helped aid Arkansas’ 91 points through their own mistakes.

Missouri committed a season-high 18 turnovers on Wednesday night. Arkansas was able to capitalize by scoring 25 points off of Missouri being careless with the ball.

“You can’t have 18 turnovers at home and expect to win the ballgame or be in it,” Dennis Gates said post-game.

Arkansas also scored 56 paint points, another thing Gates said was influenced by MU’s turnovers.

“Those points in the paint came from our turnovers,” Gates said. “Where they we’re able to extend those turnovers into 25 total points so it wasn’t them shooting threes on the break, they were getting in the paint off those fast breaks and obviously executing off our turnovers.”

Arkansas doesn’t force many steals but came away with nine. Vanderbilt also doesn’t force many, averaging just 5.4 per game, but another poor performance by the Tigers could present opportunities for Vandy.

More aggression on the defensive boards

Mabor Majak played eight minutes in the second half for Missouri. This was more than Noah Carter (three minutes over the final 20) and Aidan Shaw and Connor Vanover (five minutes a piece).

While Mabor Majak earned some time on the court and Gates has always had good words for the 7-foot-2 center, the minutes taken away from Noah Carter and Aidan Shaw due to their lack of contributions on the glass.

“(A) coaches decision,” said Gates on why Carter played just three minutes in the second half. “There were opportunities for him to come away with a couple of weak side rebounds that, you know, he didn’t come away with and at that point it doesn’t allow us to win if he’s going to have on defensive rebound in 15 minutes of play. Same with Aidan Shaw. Shaw had one defensive rebound.”

As mentioned above, Vanderbilt is a better rebounding team than Missouri. The Tigers can’t afford another night like Arkansas and have Carter, Shaw, Jordan Butler, and Vanover finish a game with zero combined defensive rebounds. It just can’t happen.

Don’t get timid, Nick Honor

Nick Honor didn’t miss a single 3-point shot on Wednesday. The problem was he only took two in 29 minutes of play. Gates noted that production like that isn’t going to lead to success.

“Nick Honor can’t shoot two times and expect us to win a basketball game, or four times and expect us to win a basketball game,” Gates said. “I’ve told him night in and night out we need you shooting close to 10 threes a game. We need you in double-digits.”

Honor has scored in double-digits twice since the Illinois games. Missouri is 1-9 in that time span.

“The risk-taking needs to increase from Nick Honor, because he is a good shot maker and he does take care of the ball,” Gates said. “I think that kind of puts him in this box because he doesn’t want to turn the ball over or he doesn’t want to take a tough contested shot.”

Game prediction

KenPom Prediction: Missouri 70, Vanderbilt 69

My Prediction: Missouri 74, Vanderbilt 71

Missouri just lost what was a very winnable game and enters Saturday in what will likely be the last time its favored in any contest. The Tigers are on the road where it hasn’t won since Nov. 28, 2023 against Pittsburgh and that game and the Minnesota game seem like ages ago. (editor’s note: so much so Jaden put 2022 as the year originally, ha!) Luckily for MU, Vanderbilt is the easiest opponent this team has had since facing Central Arkansas. The Commodores aren’t as deep as the Tigers, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this game is close considering the inconsistencies MU has had both in the non-con and SEC play.