Vanderbilt nearly added its name to list of power-conference teams upset in these early days of the 2015-16 season, but a timely performance from Wade Baldwin IV (career-high 21 points) off the bench helped the Commodores win 79-72 in overtime against a very good Stony Brook team.
After back-to-back wins by more than 30 points, Vanderbilt found itself in the new position of battling back from a deficit against the Seawolves, a team led by Jameel Warney, Carson Puriefoy and Ahmad Walker.
The trio combined for 51 of Stony Brook’s 72 points and it was Puriefoy who stepped up in the final seconds of regulation with a game-tying floater.
TIE GAME! Puriefoy ties it with 1 second to go and @StonyBrookMBB is headed to OT vs. No. 17 Vanderbilt! https://t.co/Gh4utav9Sp
— America East (@AmericaEast) November 20, 2015
Vanderbilt trailed by double-digits at two different points in this game, and that might say more about Stony Brook than the Commodores. If that trio of Warney, Puriefoy and Walker can keep it going, the Seawolves look a great pick in the American East (one I admittedly did not make) and a team to keep an eye on in upcoming nonconference games against Princeton and Notre Dame.
The Commodores dealt with some foul trouble early, and Baldwin got off to a slow start before things really started clicking in the second half. Vanderbilt big man Damian Jones (13 points) was able to be more aggressive in the second half as well, and he acknowledged the step up in competition when speaking to reporters after the game.
Next time we see Vanderbilt will be in the Maui Invitational against St. John’s on Nov. 23.