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Tinsley Gets First Triple-Double in Vanderbilt History; Commodores Cruise over Presbyterian

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Vandy opened up basketball season with a bang last night, and Brad Tinsley supplied the exclamation point that one can only hope is a foreshadowing of things to come in his role as starting point guard this season. For the first time in the history of the program (that’s a long time), a Vanderbilt player got a triple-double as Brad dished out a career-high 10 assists, grabbed 10 rebounds, and notched 11 points to lead the charge in the Commodores’ 88-47 win over Presbyterian. Just for good measure, Tinsley also got 3 steals, 1 block, and only turned the ball over twice (I’d have to imagine he opens up the year near #1 in the nation in A/T ratio after that). For the first time in Kevin Stallings’ 18-year career, he gave out a game ball, calling Brad’s performance “maybe as good as we’ve ever had here.”

I realize this was a weak opponent and there’s only so much you can tell from a game like this, but you’ve got to feel good about this team after what they showed last night. For starters, check out the highlights. You’ll see a team that looks incredibly confident and fluid across the board, including people like Festus Ezeli, who put up a career-high 14 points on 7 of 8 shooting with 6 boards. The Dores also got a career-high from Jeff Taylor, who played up to his NBA Draft stock by scoring 27 points and legitimating the talk about his stepped-up outside game by going 3 of 4 from behind the arc (he was a very impressive 11 of 12 from the floor).

The only negative in the game looks like a positive to me. John Jenkins struggled mightily from three-point range, putting up a big goose egg on 6 shots. He was 4-14 overall and scored only 10 points. I say this is a positive though, because it’s nice to see not only that others can be effective when JJ’s shot is off, but also that he’s not our only outside scoring threat. Excluding Jenkins, the team as a whole was 9 of 16 from behind the arc.

Again, you can only tell so much from a game like this, but you have to feel like this team is getting off on the right foot. Five different career-highs in one game has to be some kind of record. Apparently Tinsley was gang-tackled by his teammates at midcourt after he got his tenth assist to secure the triple-double — which has me hopeful that the energy and camaraderie are going to be in good supply this season. I wasn’t there to see any of this, so if anyone was please chime in and give your thoughts on the game, the team, and Tinsley being the man.

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