Presbyterian opened its men’s basketball season Tuesday night with its first victory over a NCAA Division I Power 5 conference opponent in over a decade, beating Vanderbilt 68-62 in Nashville.
Senior guard Crosby James scored all 11 points in an 11-0 PC run that broke a 38-38 tie with 11:27 left in the second half.
James, who transferred from Anderson prior to last season, hit three 3-pointers and a layup that put the Blue Hose ahead 49-38 with 9:03 remaining.
The Southeastern Conference Commodores (0-1) never recovered.
“I thought the guys came out with the right mindset,” said PC head coach Quinton Ferrell. “We talked about this trip being a business trip and being focused, and I thought the guys were really able to do that. It started at shootaround this morning and at the pregame meal and coming over, I thought they had the right kind of spirit about them and were on an even keel.”
The victory also snapped PC’s 18-game losing streak from last season, which was the longest such string in Division I.
Junior guard Jamahri Harvey, a transfer from UNC Wilmington, led PC with 13 points. All 11 of James’ points came during his game-changing run. Junior forward Kaleb Scott, a Georgia State transfer, added 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting.
The Blue Hose (1-0) shot 51% from the field for the game, but turned it up in the second half, shooting 62.5% from the field while holding Vanderbilt (0-1) to 32.8%, including 24.2% from 3-point range.
PC’s bench also outscored Vanderbilt’s 28-16 and dominated the paint by a 36-18 margin in points.
Fifth-year guard Ezra Manjon led all scorers with 19 points.
The victory was PC’s first against a Power 5 school since the Blue Hose notched back-to-back wins against Auburn (62-59) and Wake Forest (66-64) in December of the 2010-2011 season. PC also defeated Cincinnati, then a member of the Big East, 56-54 in 2011-12.
The Blue Hose return to Templeton Center for their home opener Thursday against Columbia International for a 7 p.m. tip. PC will also host The Citadel Monday at 7 p.m.