ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands -- Kyle Fuller scored 19 points, all but five coming in the second half, as Vanderbilt beat Loyola Marymount 77-68 to secure fourth place in the Paradise Jam on Monday.
Fuller's basket with 1:44 left pushed Vanderbilt's lead to 66-62. He made all four of his free throws on Vanderbilt's next two possessions to make it 70-62 with 48 seconds remaining."Kyle played well in this tournament," Vanderbilt's coach Kevin Stallings said. "That bodes well for us going forward."Eric McClellan made three of his four free throws in the final 30 seconds and Rod Odom made two more with 3 seconds remaining to end it."It came down to the end and we showed our youth a little bit in crunch time," said LMU's coach Max Good. "Down the stretch we needed to hit a couple shots to answer and didn't get the right look. In games like this, it doesn't take much. Just two or three minor errors can be the difference. And that was the case tonight."McClellan added 17 points for the Commodores (4-2) and James Siakam scored all 11 of his points in the second half. Vanderbilt made 25 of its 52 shots and nailed 75 percent of its 32 free throws."We didn't make many 3's and the good news is we scored 77 points, with only three 3-point baskets. And we like to shoot the three. We depend on the 3 and it was good to see us go to the foul line so much," Stallings said.McClellan had nine of Vanderbilt's first 21 points and the Commodores were up 34-30 at the break.Vanderbilt opened the second half on a 7-2 run, capped by a Fuller 3-pointer.The lead was cut to one-point (50-49) after LMU's Chase Flint hit a 3-pointer, followed by a steal and dunk by Marin Mornar.Ireland's bucket at 8:45 gave LMU its first lead of the second half at 55-53. LMU later led 60-57, but Vanderbilt went on a 7-0 fun, highlighted by Fuller's 3-pointer."We showed out most resolve when they took the lead," Stallings said. "Our defense got better. Our offense got better. We were 17 of 21 from the foul line in the second half."Ireland finished with 20 points, his third-straight 20-plus point game for Loyola Marymount (5-2), while Ben Dickinson and Gabe Levin chipped in with 10 each."We have a lot to build on," said Good. "We did some good things throughout this tournament and we have to get back to practice and really grow from here. This group does not give up and I thought our press really bothered them. We need some practice right now."It was the first ever meeting between the two programs.