Kentucky Vanderbilt Basketball

Vanderbilt hopes to have point guard Scotty PIppen Jr. back in the lineup for Tuesday night's game against LSU. Pippen, who ranks second in the SEC in both scoring and assists, has missed the past two games with hip injury.(AP Photo/Mark Zaleski) ORG XMIT: TNMZ119

A check of LSU’s scouting report for Tuesday night’s game with Vanderbilt may have caused Tigers coach Will Wade to wince a little.

Under 3-point field-goal percentage, Wade saw that six players LSU will have to defend against shoot 36% from beyond the arc this season.

A seventh player who tops that number, 6-foot-9 forward Dylan Disu, won’t play after having season-ending knee surgery last week.

It was enough to bring back bad memories of LSU’s visit to Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gymnasium 13 months ago, when the Commodores buried a dozen 3-pointers and shot 57.4% from the field in a 99-90 bashing of the then-No. 18 Tigers.

LSU, which was 8-0 in Southeastern Conference play at the time, has much more at stake in its 7:30 p.m. Tuesday rematch with Vanderbilt in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

A win in its penultimate league game and home finale would clinch no worse that a fourth-place finish for LSU (14-8, 9-6 SEC) and the double-bye that goes with it for next week’s SEC tournament.

After dropping its past two games — both on the road — Wade’s team doesn't want to slip up against Vanderbilt (7-13, 3-11 SEC) two years in a row.

“This is a good team now, they’re a totally different team than they were last year,” Wade said. “This is a very good team. I know what their record says, but they are a good team.

“If you’re a coach and you can’t pop in the film and see how good they are and see what sort of progress they’ve made … I mean they’re a good team.”

So the Tigers will be on high alert even though they would have another opportunity to secure the win they need to clinch a double-bye in the regular-season finale at Missouri on Saturday.

Obviously, not taking it to the wire is preferrable — especially after Vanderbilt, a 12-point underdog last Feb. 5, stunned LSU to snap a 28-game SEC losing streak.

The first thing Wade talked about during his Zoom video conference Monday was Vanderbilt’s 75-70 win over Ole Miss on Saturday even though the Commodores played without their top two scorers — guard Scotty Pippen Jr. and Disu.

Pippen was sidelined for a second consecutive game with a bruised hip, but Wade said he expects Pippen to return Tuesday night.

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The second thing Wade talked about was Vanderbilt’s 3-point shooting.

“It will be a major issue for us guarding the 3-point line,” he said. “Maxwell Evans is playing really well; he killed us last year.”

Evans, a 6-2 guard, scored a career-high 31 points in making 10 of 18 field-goal attempts — including 7 of 12 from beyond the arc. He had 25 points at halftime.

Guard Jordan Wright, a 6-6 forward who prepped at The Dunham School, leads Vandy in hitting 42.9% from long range. Evans is right behind at 40.5% and guard Trey Thomas hits 38.5%.

As a team, the Commodores shoot 35.7% for the season, which is second in the league. They also are second with 9.5 makes a game.

“We’ve got to be able to guard the bounce,” said Wade, whose team ranks second in the SEC in 3-point field-goal defense at 30.1%. “We’ve got to be able to guard their 3-point shooters well.”

Second-year Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse is hoping to get Pippen, his point guard and All-SEC candidate, back in the lineup.

Pippen is second in the SEC at 20.5 points a game, only behind LSU’s Cam Thomas’ 22.8, and is also second in assists at 5.2 per game.

Wade pointed out that Vanderbilt has been close to winning a number of times this season.

In addition to beating Ole Miss, the Commodores took league champion Alabama to the wire in Tuscaloosa before falling 82-78 on Feb. 20.

They also put up a fight without Pippen and Disu before losing to Tennessee by 12 last Wednesday.

“Coach Stackhouse has done a phenomenal job, and they’ve really improved this year like they did throughout the course of the year last year,” Wade said.

“It’s going to be an absolute battle. It’s be a very, very challenging game and a very difficult game.”

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