Starting point guard and leading scorer DeWayne Reed was benched for being late to the arena, then benched because head coach Jeff Lebo didn’t like his “energy.” It cost the Tigers dearly.
Although Rasheem Barrett scored a career-high 29 points, Auburn (13-8, 2-4 SEC) couldn’t keep pace with the hot-handed Commodores, who busted out of a month-long shooting funk to make 60.9 percent of their shots from the field.
Jermaine Beal was clutch, scoring 21 points on seven 3-pointers, including two in the final three minutes that would have had Bill Raftery yelling, “Onions!”
Vandy (13-8, 2-5 SEC), the SEC’s second-worst 3-point shooting team (24.8 percent), went 10-for-17 from long range Saturday.
Some other thoughts on the game …
- Reed’s absence was a major blow. He only played three minutes and his teammates didn’t sound too thrilled about him showing up late for the game. “There are certain things that you can’t do when you are part of a team,” Barrett said. “You may look at yourself saying, ‘Oh well,’ but when you’re on a team, he has to realize that everything tha tyou do, good or bad, reflects the whole team and it hurts the whole team.”
- Vandy coach Kevin Stallings had a good quote on the subject: “It’s just really damaging to the entire fabric of your team when a guy is careless, irresponsible or selfish like that. We’ve all had that as coaches and I feel badly for Jeff because the only choice you have is to do what Jeff did.”
- Barrett was phenomenal. His previous career-high was 28, set his freshman year against Jacksonville State. He went 10-for-17 from the field and made five 3-pointers Saturday.
- Korvotney Barber finished with 12 points and Lucas Hargrove 11, but the Tigers’ shooters were off the mark. Tay Waller scored eight points on 3-for-10 shooting, including a 2-for-7 afternoon from 3-point range. Quantez Robertson missed all three of his 3-point attempts and was 1-for-6 from the free throw line.
- Bizarre disappearance by Frankie Sullivan in the second half. He was 3-for-6 for eight points in the first half but took one shot in the second. You’d figure Auburn would try to make him a big part of its game plan with Reed out of the game.
- While we’re on that subject, Vot only took two shots in the second half.
- Rebounds: Vanderbilt 35, Auburn 22. ‘Nuff said.
- Auburn free throws: 7-for-15. Inexcusable. Try them granny style for goodness sake. Anything but what the Tigers have been doing all season.
- Vandy center A.J. Ogilvy didn’t crush Auburn like he did last season, but he did finish with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists. Pretty good showing for someone dealing with a heel injury.
- Up next: at Ole Miss on Feb. 4. That’s football’s National Signing Day. Can’t imagine anybody is going to be very interested in basketball that day, but Auburn can’t afford to slip any further below .500 in the SEC. A win in Oxford would be huge.