NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Mouphtaou Yarou scored 16 points to lead Villanova to a 62-52 men’s basketball victory over Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Yarou made 10-of-12 free throws and JayVaughn Pinkston added 13 off the bench as the Wildcats (4-3) snapped a three-game losing streak.
The Wildcats led by eight early in the second half, but the Commodores pulled to within 46-44 with 7 minutes, 18 seconds left. Vanderbilt (2-4) made just two baskets the rest of the way and shot just 36.4 percent (8-of-22) after halftime. The Commodores are off to their worst start since 1988.
Villanova also blitzed the Commodores on the boards, outrebounding them 34-28. Vanderbilt finished with just four offensive rebounds — all coming in the first half.
Rod Odom led the Commodores with 14 points. Kedren Johnson added 12. Freshman Kevin Bright notched his first career double-double with 12 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.
The teams had met just once before. Villanova defeated Vanderbilt 80-73 for the 1994 NIT championship.
The Commodores stayed in front for much of the first half, grabbing a five-point lead twice. Their last came with 12:52 left on a Shelby Moats layup for a 14-9 lead. The Commodores went nearly five minutes without a basket, allowing Villanova to jump in front. Daniel Ochefu’s two free throws with 3:21 left pushed the Wildcats in front for good and sparked an 8-3 run.
After missing his first four 3-pointers, Ryan Arcidiacono sunk a 25-footer for a 31-26 lead at halftime. Villanova pushed the lead to eight early in the second half as Vanderbilt went nearly five minutes without a basket.
The Commodores missed six of their first seven shots before Sheldon Jeter’s 3-pointer with 11:49 to go cut the deficit to 39-34.
Vanderbilt chucked up 26 3-pointers, making just nine, but the perimeter shooting allowed the Commodores to stick around. A 3-pointer by Johnson, followed by two free throws from Shelby Moats cut the deficit to 46-44 with more than seven minutes remaining.
Darrun Hilliard responded with a slashing layup and the Wildcats scored on their next three possessions to pull away. Villanova made all eight free throws in the final 1:23. The Wildcats were 18-of-25 from the free-throw line.
Vanderbilt, meanwhile, couldn’t do anything offensively and made just one basket in the closing five minutes. Playing their first home game since the season opener three weeks ago, the Commodores shot 37 percent (17 of 46) for the game.
Vanderbilt, which lost its top six scorers from last year, has lost four of five.