The win was no surprise to Shan Foster, "We expected to win. The first game was indicative to how we were playing at that time. Today was an indication of how we are playing right now, which is much better."
The win improved Vanderbilt's home record to 18-0, and marked the fourth consecutive time they had knocked a #1 team at home, the latest coming just last season when the Florida Gators came to Nashville with that ranking. The win improves the Commodores to 9-4 in conference play and puts them just two games behind the Volunteers in the SEC East at 11-2.
The Commodores opened the game on a 23-9 run that was capped by an A.J. Ogilvy dunk with 10:48 remaining in the opening half. Those two points would be Ogilvy’s last two of the night as he had to sit most of the second half because of foul trouble. Ogilvy played a total of 12 minutes and scored just four points in the victory.
Vanderbilt would go to the locker room with just a three point lead after Chris Lofton hit a three for the Volunteers with 1:27 remaining in the first half.
The second half would see four lead changes and three ties before an Alan Metcalfe three with 14:20 left put the Commodores ahead 46-43. The Commodores would not trail again in the game, but the Volunteers were able to keep the game close. Shan Foster hit some big free throws in the final minutes to seal the victory.
The Commodores did have a scare with under eight seconds left in the game. After a Wayne Chism dunk cut the Commodores lead to 72-69, Ross Neltner threw the ball in to Foster who saw Keegan Bell wide open down the floor. Foster threw the ball a little too far, but Bell was able to run it down just before it went out of bounds to preserve the win.
The story of the game was Foster who scored 32 points. He came up big every time the Commodores needed a bucket going 9-13 from the field including 6-9 from three point land. Sophomore guard Jermaine Beal also had a huge night with 17 points. He also ended the night with zero turnovers, which is a remarkable feat for a point guard against Tennessee’s pressure defense. The Commodores only turned the ball over seven times as a team.
In addition to taking care of the ball, the Commodores also played outstanding defense holding the Volunteers to just under 33% percent (20-61) shooting on the night. Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings had this to say about his team’s defense, "I thought a lot of their shots were contested. I thought our defense had a lot to do with that. I think both teams missed some open shots also."
Chris Lofton led the Volunteers in scoring with 25. Tennessee would also get 11 points and 17 boards from Tyler Smith.
This game was the final game of a four game home stand for the Commodores. They travel to Fayetteville on Saturday to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks. That game tips off at 3 p.m.
Photo by Stan Jones