202.5

Vanderbilt rebounds with win over Middle Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Simi Shittu scored 15 points and Matthew Moyer added a season-high 14 and Vanderbilt beat Middle Tennessee 79-51 on Wednesday night.

The Commodores (6-2), who lost point guard Dais Garland to a season-ending knee injury on Nov. 23, rebounded from Saturday’s loss to North Carolina State.

Vanderbilt ended a three-game losing streak to Middle Tennessee (3-6), increasing its lead to 30-7 in the all-time series.

Middle Tennessee’s Antonio Green, who scored a career-high 30 points in Saturday’s loss to Lipscomb, led the Blue Raiders with 18 points as the Blue Raiders lost their fifth straight game after starting the season 3-1. Reggie Scurry added 14 on 6 of 9 shooting.

Middle was 2 for 14 from 3-point range and Vanderbilt went 18 of 19 from the foul line (95 percent). The Commodores made nine 3-pointers.

Vanderbilt took charge early, grabbing a 42-21 halftime lead as Middle Tennessee missed 18 of its first 26 shots.

The Blue Raiders’ Darnell Butler, a Seminole State (Okla.) transfer, was ruled eligible Wednesday. Butler, who averaged 19.2 points and 5.5 rebounds last season, didn’t score against Vanderbilt.

A moment of silence was held before the game to honor Vanderbilt tight end Turner Cockrell, who died Thursday after a one-year battle with melanoma. He was 21.

BIG PICTURE

Middle Tennessee: The Blue Raiders’ slump continued as they struggled offensively.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores are still adjusting to the loss of Garland.

UP NEXT

Middle Tennessee State: Hosts Murray State (4-1) on Saturday. The Racers were picked to finish second in the Ohio Valley Conference preseason poll.

Vanderbilt: Hosts No. 20 Arizona State (7-0) on Dec. 17 after a 12-day break for final exams.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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