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Vanderbilt 87, Alcorn State 50: Scotty Pippen Jr. scores career-high 30 points

Kris Rhim
Nashville Tennessean

Scotty Pippen Jr. scored a career-high 30 points and added four assists as Vanderbilt cruised to an 87-50 win over Alcorn State on Sunday  at Memorial Gym.

Pippen is second in the SEC in scoring, averaging 22 points per game. Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse credited the sophomore guard's performance this season to his maturity. 

"He's just confident; he has an understanding of what we're doing on both sides. I thought he had a good grasp last year, but even more so now," Stackhouse said. "He's definitely playing like an all-league player and possibly an All-American if he keeps it up."

Here are three things we learned in Vanderbilt's victory.

New starting lineup

After Vanderbilt's 85-65 loss to Davidson on Dec. 22, Stackhouse was visibly frustrated, and he mentioned that players would need to step up and score. Despite being outrebounded 47-29 against Davidson, 6-foot-1 guard Issac McBride got the start and 6-10 forward Quentin Millora-Brown came off the bench. 

The lineup proved to be effective as Vanderbilt (4-2) had its highest-scoring first half of the season. 

"I like the fact that we (are) starting with a group where, with everyone on the floor, there's a good threat to how we want to play around the perimeter that can step up and make shots," Stackhouse said. "It's going to kind of be a game-by-game decision, but I liked that unit."

Stackhouse emphasized that rebounding is still a concern.

"We tried anything, but if any of you guys have any rebounding drills you want to send my way, just send them to my inbox. I will happily take them,"  the second-year coach said. 

Strong first-half start

The Commodores led 41-21 at halftime, shooting 53% (17-of-32) from the field, including 44% (7-of-16) from 3-point range. They also forced 12 turnovers, which resulted in 12 points, and added 22 bench points. 

Against Davidson, Vanderbilt shot 34% from the field and 29% from 3-points range in the first half. 

Commodores will need to be consistent

Vanderbilt was a 23.5-point favorite over winless Alcorn State (0-4). The  win should serve as a confidence booster, but the Commodores will need to find similar results against teams in the SEC. 

"We're trending in a good direction, but obviously it starts for real next time out with SEC play. Competition is at another level, but we feel good about where we are," Stackhouse said.

Vanderbilt will return to Memorial gym on Wednesday (8 p.m., ESPN2) to begin SEC play against Florida (3-1).