After Jermaine Beal missed made one of two free throws to put Vandy back up by four, Zaire Taylor field goal pulled the Tigers to within two at 79-77. Vanderbilt, which controlled the boards, 47-26, got an offensive rebound which allowed Andre Walker score on a tip in to put Vanderbilt back up by four, 81-77.
Things got even crazier for Vanderbilt when English made a 3-point shot to pull Missouri to within one with just two minutes remaining at, 81-80. In the final two minutes Vandy substituted liberally depending on whether it was an offensive or defensive situation and Missouri could get the score no closer. Vanderbilt freshman John Jenkins made four-of-four free throws to seal the win for the Commodores. Jenkins also had a 3-pointer earlier in the game and finished with 11.
The game started out with plenty of action as Taylor blocked two shots in the first minute. A Beal 3-point attempt rimmed out and then went back in for the first points of the game.
Vanderbilt crafted a 16-9 lead with 15:28 remaining in the half. However, Missouri battled back and two Keith Ramsey made free throws tied the score at 26 with seven minutes left in the half. The two teams would then trade leads and be tied several times over the next few minutes before two Ogilvy free throws gave Vanderbilt a 32-31 lead at the 3:39 mark. Vanderbilt's defense then stiffened and held the Tigers without a field goal for the remainder of the half. A Beal 3-point shot gave Vandy a 37-31 lead with 2:21 left and the Commodores would take a 39-33 lead to the locker room. Beal finished with 15.
After the game Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings talked about the big improvement in Commodore rebounding over previous games, "We tried to get them. It makes a huge difference. If you box someone out and clear some space, it works better. I didn't see [our poor rebounding performance] coming when we went to Hawaii and that's my fault." Vandy got a spectacular rebounding effort from both Walker and Taylor who had 12 and 11 boards respectively.
English led Missouri's scorers with 20.
Vanderbilt improves to 5-1. The Commodores will next host DePaul on Saturday afternoon. Missouri falls to 4-2 and will next host Oregon on Saturday. Vanderbilt leads the all-time series with Missouri 3-1, including a 2-0 advantage in games played at Memorial Gym. Vanderbilt has now won three consecutive meetings with Missouri.
Missouri guard Zaire Taylor, left, fights for the ball with Vanderbilt forward Steve Tchiengang, right. (AP/Mark Humphrey)