NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Rod Odom scored 18 points, and Vanderbilt beat Mississippi State 55-49 Saturday for their third straight win.
Vanderbilt (12-8, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) returned to Memorial Gym after winning its first two road games this season and started a three-game home stand by adding yet another win over Mississippi State. The Commodores held the Bulldogs to a season-low in points and have now won four of the last five in this series.Kyle Fuller added 14 points and Damian Jones had 13 for Vanderbilt, which is playing with only seven scholarship players.Mississippi State (13-8, 3-5) has lost three straight.Fred Thomas scored 16 points for the Bulldogs. Craig Sword, the Bulldogs' leading scorer averaging 13.9 points a game, didn't score until he hit a jumper with 11:18 left. He finished with four points.Vanderbilt turned the Bulldogs' 18 turnovers into 24 points and also had a 26-16 scoring edge in the paint thanks to Jones.The Commodores took advantage of the Bulldogs' drought with a 12-point run that gave them a 25-21 halftime lead and their biggest lead of the game at 34-21 when Dai-Jon Parker hit a jumper with 15:04 left in the second half. Jacoby Davis finally ended the Bulldogs' drought with a 3-pointer with 14:50 remaining.Davis' next 3 started a 10-1 spurt for Mississippi State that trimmed Vandy's lead to 40-36 on a driving layup by Sword with 10:29 to go.Mississippi State couldn't get closer than four the rest of the way. The Bulldogs, who had an 8:14 scoring drought from the end of the first half into the second, went cold again late. Gavin Ware tipped in a Sword miss with 1:15 left to pull within 53-49, but they didn't score again. Sword had a miss, and then Ware missed a layup in the final minute as Vanderbilt sealed the win.The Bulldogs jumped out to their biggest lead of six points with 15:18 left in the first half as Thomas scored their first 10 points. Neither team could break away as they swapped the lead four times with four ties. Mississippi State had its last lead of the first half at 14-12 on a pair of free throws by Ware with 9:18 left.James Siakam scored for Vandy, and Parker added a bucket with 7:32 left to put the Commodores ahead to stay. Ware tied it with a dunk, but the Bulldogs went cold after a 3-pointer by Colin Borchert with 3:04 left. He finished with just five points, well under his 10.6 points per game average.