The Commodore men’s basketball team returns to the floor to begin their 2017-18 campaign this Friday evening when they take on the Austin Peay Governors from the Ohio Valley Conference. Tip time is set for 8:30 p.m. CT, with the game airing live on SEC Network Plus, on the radio with Joe Fisher and Tim Thompson on the Vanderbilt IMG Radio Network, and online on vucommodores.com.
Vanderbilt, under second-year head coach Bryce Drew, are hoping to build on last year’s 19-16 overall record and their second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Commodores return eight letter winners and three of their top four scorers in 2017-18 that advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year – seniors Matthew Fisher-Davis (13.9), Jeff Roberson (10.8), and Riley LaChance (10.5). Junior Joe Toye, who started in 13 games a year ago, also returns after averaging 6.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. In all, Vanderbilt returns 70.5% of its scoring and six players who started at least one game in 2016-17. In all, 261 cumulative starts return for the Commodores and a combined 532 games played between the eight letterwinners returning.
The Commodores will be shooting for their 1000th consecutive game with a three-pointer against Austin Peay Friday. Vanderbilt is one of only three teams (Princeton, UNLV) to make a three in every game since the inception of the three-point line in 1985-86.
Nashville, Tenn. – Memorial Gym – 8:30 p.m.
TV: SEC Network +
TV Talent: Kevin Ingram, Shan Foster
Radio: Vanderbilt Radio Network from IMG College, vucommodores.com
Radio Talent: Joe Fisher (pxp), Tim Thompson (analyst)
Live Stats: vucommodores.com
Twitter Updates: @VandyMBB
Series Record: Vanderbilt leads 15-1.
Last Meeting: VU win, 80-41, on Nov. 13, 2015 in Nashville.
Record at Vanderbilt: VU leads 14-1.
Record at Austin Peay: VU leads 1-0.
Record at Neutral Site: VU leads 1-0.
Coach Drew vs. Austin Peay: Coach Drew has never faced Austin Peay.
More information on the Austin Peay series
- Austin Peay finished the 2016-17 season with an 11-19 overall record and a 7-9 mark in the Ohio Valley Conference.
- Chris Porter-Bunson is the team’s leading returning scorer (6.3 points) and rebounder (3.6).
- New head coach Matt Figger takes over for long time Governor coach Dave Loos, who retired at the end of last year. Figger comes to Austin Peay after recently serving as the associate head coach at South Carolina under Frank Martin.
- Vanderbilt leads the all-time series, 15-1, and last played the Governors in the 2015-16 season opener on November 13 (80-41 win).
Vanderbilt Quick Hitters
- This is the 115th year of Vanderbilt basketball, with the first season taking place in 1900-01. There were no teams in 1904-05 and 1905-06.
- Vanderbilt had five top-25 wins, six top-50 victories and 11 top-100 RPI wins a year ago, the overall toughest strength of schedule and toughest non-conference schedule in the nation, and were the only SEC team to sweep Florida. The Commodores are tied for the second-most top 50 wins in SEC with Florida with six – only UK (8) had more.
- The Commodores played 11 teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament (Marquette, Bucknell, Butler, Minnesota, Middle Tennessee, Dayton, Kentucky, Florida, Arkansas, Iowa State, and South Carolina) and four teams in the 2017 Postseason NIT (Belmont, Alabama, Georgia, and Ole Miss). Twenty of Vanderbilt’s 34 games came against teams that advanced to the postseason.
- Commodore head coach Bryce Drew, now in his second season, led the Commodores to the NCAA Tournament in his first season in Nashville, marking the first time in the history of the program a first-year Vanderbilt coach led his team to the tournament. Overall, the Commodores made their 15th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and their first back-to-back appearances since making three consecutive tournaments from 2010-12.
- The Commodores have had five NBA Draft picks since 2012 – Wade Baldwin IV (17th, Memphis Grizzlies), Damian Jones (30th, Golden State Warriors), and John Jenkins (23rd, Atlanta), Festus Ezeli (30th, Golden State), and Jeffery Taylor (31st, Charlotte) in 2012.
- Vanderbilt has two 1,000-point scorers on their roster – Riley LaChance and Matthew Fisher-Davis, with Jeff Roberson 169 points away from the 1,000-point mark.
- Altogether, Vanderbilt made 337 threes last season, which set a new school record for a single season. The previous best was 322 in the 2004-05 campaign. Six Commodores made 30 threes or more in 2016-17 – Joe Toye, Nolan Cressler, Jeff Roberson, Riley LaChance, Luke Kornet, and Matthew Fisher-Davis – and were the SEC’s best three-point shooting team (37.7%), the league’s leader in three’s made per game (9.9) and in free-throw percentage (77.6%).
- Vanderbilt will welcome six newcomers to the team in 2017-18 – true freshmen guards Saben Lee (6-2, 174, Tempe, Ariz.) and Maxwell Evans (6-2, 186, Houston, Texas), true freshman big man Ejike Obinna (6-10, 234, Enugu, Nigeria), redshirt sophomore transfers Matt Ryan (6-8, 209 forward, Notre Dame) and Yanni Wetzell (6-10, 235 forward/center, St. Mary’s (Texas)), and freshman walk-on guard Isaiah Rice (5-11, 189, Carmel, Ind.).
- The Commodores spent 7 days in August in the U.S. Virgin Islands on a foreign tour, where they played two teams from Canada (Carleton University and Brock University) and the U.S. Virgin Island National Team.
SEC Three-Point Leaders
Of the top 20 season 3 pt FG %’s in SEC history, Vanderbilt has 5 of them.
4. Billy McCaffrey (51.2%, 1993)
7. Barry Booker (50.0%, 1987)
T9. Riley LaChance (48.6%)
12. John Jenkins (48.3%, 2010)
16. Shan Foster (46.9%, 2008).
On the top 20 SEC career 3-point % list with at least 300 attempts, Vanderbilt has six guys.
2. Booker 46%
3. McCaffrey 44.6%
8. Scott Draud 43.8%
8. Jenkins 43.8%
14. Dan Cage 42.6%
19. Foster 42.1%
LaChance made threes at high clip in 2016-17
Riley LaChance, who played the point guard position in 2016-17 and will slide over to his more natural two-guard spot in his senior season, made 49.3% of his three-point attempts last year, which is the third-best in a single-season all-time for the Commodores – only Billy McCaffrey (51.2%, 1992-93) and Barry Booker (50%, 1986-87) have had better seasons from three. LaChance led the SEC in three-point shooting in 2016-17, and his three-point field goal percentage a year ago ties for the ninth-best in SEC history.
Making threes is not a new thing for this year’s Commodore team. Combined in their career, current players have made 570 career threes.
700th SEC Win
Vanderbilt is in its 85th SEC season and is a charter member of the league. The Commodores won their 700th league game at Florida, and all time against current members of the conference, Vanderbilt is 709-693.
Vanderbilt has made a 3-pointer in 999 consecutive games, a streak which began at the inception of the 3-point line in 1986-87. The Commodores rank third only to UNLV and Kentucky for the longest streak in Division I basketball. Vanderbilt, UNLV and Princeton are the only three schools in college basketball to have made at least one 3-pointer in every game played since the 3-point line was implemented.