A Quick, Fake Summary: All Else is Castles Built In The AirPosted by Gerald Smith on November 28th, 2011
Festus Ezeli busted a deal and spun the wheel. (He also spun his MCL; he’ll be out for a while.) Vanderbilt has been spun about without him, though it might not be due to his absence.
At the beginning of the season, it was theorized that Vandy’s seniors would rise up and contribute more with Ezeli out. Against Xavier tonight, the Commodores of Musictown still couldn’t barter themselves a decent offense. Senior forward Lance Goulbourne (18 points on 8-17 FG seven rebounds), junior guard John Jenkins (20 points on 8-18 FG & 4-9 3FG) and senior forward Jeffery Taylor (18 points on 6-11 FG, five rebounds) all led the charge defensively but faded as near the end. Not one Commodore scored a single point in the last 3:56 of the second half.
Earlier in the that half, senior guard Brad Tinsley had controlled drives into the paint that resulted in easy assists. Like the rest of the ‘Dores, Tinsley tried to do too much late in the game. With his limited defensive ability, Xavier guards Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons finally took control and powered the Musketeers to a 82-70 overtime victory.
Even with Ezeli in the lineup, Vandy’s point guard issues are critical. Tinsley lacks the mobility to hang with more talented opponents. He can become an asset when he plays within his means but often ends up rushing into shots or drives that are questionable. Freshman guard Kedren Johnson (two points, three assists, one turnover) still cannot initiate the offense. Tonight’s improved team defensive effort, though, is promising for Kevin Stallings. Despite the effective defense, his team must shoot better to counteract all the fouls (27 Xavier FTAs) and the rebound margin (Xavier +21). Perhaps the solution will be a combination of Ezeli’s return — senior forward Steve Tchiengang is clearly outmatched at the center position — and getting Tinsley to settle himself and his teammates. Tinsley only contributed four of VU’s 18 turnovers, yet most of the turnovers are his teammate’s efforts of trying too hard.
Vandy doesn’t need another hero. All they want is life beyond Memorial Gym.