Scotty Pippen Jr. tried. Even with the stomach flu, it was his heroic three that sent Vanderbilt men's basketball to overtime with Temple after trailing most of the game.
But in the end, the Commodores just couldn't hang on, falling, 72-68. They let an early overtime lead slip away as Vanderbilt (5-3) couldn't repeat its end-of-game surge in the extra period against the Owls (6-3).
"This was a game that we needed to get," Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse said. "Thought they'd be angry from how the SMU game ended up and when you come out with a lot of energy and maybe it was too much energy where we had a little bit more oomph on our shots than we needed to."
Pippen had played just 10 minutes in the second half. He hadn't played particularly well when he was on the court. But when it all came down to it, Stackhouse drew up the pivotal play for the SEC preseason player of the year.
Wright inbounded across the court to Pippen in the corner. Pippen put the shot up and swished it with 2.7 seconds remaining, forcing overtime.
SCOTTY. PIPPEN. JR.
— Vanderbilt Men's Basketball (@VandyMBB) December 8, 2021
This despite a nasty stomach flu that Stackhouse said had Pippen throwing up before the game. Pippen sat for most of the second half, with Stackhouse unsure if he'd be able to come back in. Eventually, he gave the thumbs-up.
Vanderbilt didn't lead in the second half. But it clawed back in the game thanks to hitting shots after putting Temple on the line. With four seconds left, Jamaine Mann rebounded a missed three, hit a layup and drew the and-one. He missed the free throw on purpose and the Owls knocked the ball out of bounds going for the rebound, setting up Pippen's last shot out of a timeout
The Commodores thought they had all the momentum. But perhaps after that, it got complacent.
"I knew it was going in," Wright said. "I just felt like the game was over at that point, that we were gonna come away with the win. We had a lot of momentum, moving forward we never quit, just kept fighting, kept grinding for the last minute 30 seconds, I was really confident everything was gonna open up after that shot."
Vanderbilt had a five-point lead in overtime but Pippen committed two fouls and two turnovers, and Wright, who had a 16 points and 11 rebounds, fouled out.
"We just made some careless mistakes," Stackhouse said. " ... We've gotta make teams make baskets, not allow them to go to the free-throw line with open-court fouls, things like that."
Scoring at a premium
This season, Vanderbilt has played well on defense while unexpectedly struggling on offense. That trend continued. Both teams went through lengthy scoring droughts and shot poorly from two and three. The Commodores shot 34% from the field to Temple's 35%.
No Commodores player shot well. Too frequently, Vanderbilt found itself playing isolation ball and dribbling around without getting good shots. The offense only truly got going in the last few minutes of regulation. The only Commodore who shot over 50% from the field was Mann, who was 6-for-9. Wright and Pippen scored 16 points apiece but collectively shot 34% from the field.
The Commodores relied on their bench more than in any other game, with Trey Thomas, Terren Frank and Mann playing more minutes than Tyrin Lawrence, Myles Stute and Quentin Millora-Brown. Those three players outperformed their starting counterparts in a smaller lineup; every bench player who got in the game had a positive plus-minus while every starter was negative.
"We weren't rebounding the ball well," Stackhouse said. "We had zero rebounds from our starting frontcourt in the first half so we tried to give those guys an opportunity to see if we could rebound."
In total, Lawrence, Stute and Millora-Brown scored five points and grabbed five rebounds. Thomas, Frank and Mann scored 29 points with 12 rebounds.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Vanderbilt falls to Temple despite heroics from Scotty Pippen Jr.