NASHVILLE, Tenn. : Scotty Pippen Jr. . reached a career high of 25 points when Vanderbilt faced Valparaiso 77-71 in the season opener for both teams on Friday night.
Pippen put Vanderbilt in the lead by scoring six straight hits, starting with two free throws 4:24 at 61-59.
Vanderbilt improved 3-0 against Valparaiso, and the Crusaders opened an eight-game streak with their first loss since 2011 when they also lost on the road in Arizona.
Mileek McMillan led Valparaiso with 18 points. Donovan Clay added 14 and Ben Krikke had 13.
This was Vanderbilt’s last start in 31 years in the 1989/90 season against Southern Methodist on the same day. It’s a game the Commodores have been playing since the 11th. Waited March 23rd when they played the final game of the Southeastern Conference Tournament before the league canceled the event.
No fans were allowed in Memorial Gym. Both teams stayed at the end, and the benches became chairs that were separated from each other for physical separation. When Nick Robinson intercepted his fourth foul within the first few minutes of the second half, someone echoed around the gym.
Vanderbilt seemed ready to drive a 12-1 run to an opening win that brought the Commodores to 50:43 by 13:51 minutes over Pippen’s three-point game. The Crusaders responded by scoring the next 12 with a pair of 3s before Daniel Sackeys stole and layup gave them the biggest lead in the game at 11:27.
D. . J. . Harvey, who dropped out after moving from Notre Dame last season, started a 14-2 run with a 3. Ejike Obinna linked it with a layup at 59 and Pippen, who made all 14 of his fouls, put her in the lead to stay on two free throws. Vandy increased the lead to 10 within the last minute.
Valparaiso scored the final 11 of the first half, with McMillan hitting two 3s, including his third of the half when he hit the buzzer for a 34 all-draw.
Valparaiso: The Crusaders started where they stopped shooting the 3 last season. They made 287 3s last season and scored 7 of 15 in the first half but struggled outside the arc in the second (4 of 20), finishing 11 of 35.
Vanderbilt: Manager Jerry Stackhouse is starting his second season with a much deeper roster, thanks to five newcomers and a trio of transfers now available. He used the nine non-conference games to determine his best combinations, and 10 different Commodores scored a goal for a total of 12 games. … The Commodores also dominated boards 44-34. Dylan Disu had 11 rebounds at game height.
Vanderbilt is expected to play against UConn at the Romans Legend Classic in Uncasville, Connecticut on Tuesday.
Vanderbilt Commodores Men’s Basketball, Vanderbilt University, Scotty Pippen Jr. . , University of Valparaiso, Scottie Pippen, Basketball, Jerry Stackhouse, Southeastern Conference
World News – USA – Pippen has a career high of 25 when Vandy beats Valparaiso 77-71
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