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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Riley LaChance gave Vanderbilt a second-half spark, which was just what Vanderbilt needed.
The junior guard scored nine of the Commodores' first 11 points in the seconds half as Vanderbilt pulled away for a 75-52 win over Norfolk State in the on-campus portion of Las Vegas Invitational on Friday night.
His surge turned a nine-point halftime lead into a 16-point advantage and the Spartans (2-2) never got closer than 11 the rest of the way.
"Riley played his best five minutes of the season to start that second half," Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew said. "He gave us a lot of energy on both ends, which kind of started on the defensive end, I thought. He really got out in transition and hit some 3's that were key for us."
Matthew Fisher-Davis led Vanderbilt (2-1) with 18 points, including four 3-pointers, and LaChance added 12, highlighted by three 3-pointers.
"I was definitely in a good rhythm and my teammates did a good job of pumping me up, and we do a good job of pumping each other up," LaChance said. "I think when we made that run in the second half we had really good energy and really good togetherness."
Jeff Roberson grabbed 11 rebounds and scored 11 points for the Commodores, who hit 10 of 28 from 3-point range.
Norfolk State lost to a Southeastern Conference team for the second time in a week, including a 78-74 defeat at Mississippi State on Nov. 11.
"A lot of it was our defensive mistakes, to be honest with you," Spartans coach Robert Jones said. "We left Fisher-Davis three times on rotations and he had wide-open 3's, so a lot of it was us, not them really. The overall energy wasn't how we play for whatever reason."
Jonathan Wade remained hot for the Spartans with 20 points and seven rebounds. Wade scored a career-high 34 points in Tuesday's 91-55 rout of Elizabeth City State.
"We kind of beat ourselves tonight," Wade said. "If our energy level is not there, we're not the team we're capable of being. We kind of have mental lapses sometimes as a team."
The Spartans made only 30 percent of their shots from the floor, hitting 18 of 60.
Norfolk State led by three points before Vanderbilt went on a 10-0 run to take a 32-25 lead on LaChance's 3-pointer with 3:26 left in the first half.
The Commodores missed their first six shots from the floor, but hit 14 of 16 foul shots in the first 20 minutes to help them go on top 37-28 at halftime.
Norfolk State: The Spartans weren't able to contain Fisher-Davis and LaChance, and their perimeter defense couldn't stop the Commodores' 3-point shooters. Vandy hit 10 treys, Norfolk State was 2 of 11.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores have found a rhythm in the past two home wins under first-year coach Bryce Drew, who spent the previous five seasons at his alma mater, Valparaiso. Vanderbilt passed the ball crisply with 16 assists, compared to two for Norfolk State.
Fisher-Davis has looked good in both of Vanderbilt's wins this week. "He's played a complete game," Drew said. "We all know how well he shoots the ball, but he's been putting the ball down on the floor a little bit and he's been passing it and on the defensive end I think he's done a much better job taking pride in defending his man."
Wade was the only Spartan in double figures. Alex Long, Zaynah Robinson, Micah Goss and Carrington Ward went a combined 6 for 33 from the floor.
Norfolk State visits Butler on Monday for the second game in a 10-day road trip.
Vanderbilt hosts Bucknell on Monday in the final of a three-game homestand.
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