Gibson provides first-half spark

"I tried to make things happen,'' said Gibson, the two-sports player who is still learning Georgia's offense.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - On a day Georgia struggled to score points, the surprise scoring leader at the break was Fred Gibson.

In only nine first-half minutes, Gibson scored 10 points, but he attempted only one more shot while playing only five minutes in the second half. Even so, it was Gibson's second time in double figures in the last three games. His quick moves obviously caught the Commodores' defenders by surprise in the first half, perhaps offering a hint of more to come in the second half of the Southeastern Conference schedule.

"I tried to make things happen,'' said Gibson, the two-sports player who is still learning Georgia's offense. He still has not been with the team a full month since the end of the football season. Gibson entered the game at the 13:41 mark - early by his standards - and immediately proved too quick for any Vanderbilt defender.

Gibson scored eight of 10 points in one stretch, and along the way left both Sam Howard and Matt Freije prone on the floor with his quick first steps.

"I'm glad he made his jump shots,'' said Georgia coach Jim Harrick. "If he makes his jump shots, he'll be good for us.''

That same quickness off the football line of scrimmage helped make Gibson an impact player at wide receiver as a freshman. Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings made a quick defensive adjustment.

"They started running everybody at the wings,'' Gibson said. "It was hard to get the shot up after that.'' Gibson noted that the basketball atmosphere at Vanderbilt's Memorial Gym, packed with 13,324 fans, was much different than the football scene at a half-empty stadium.

"This place is weird,'' said Gibson of the odd-shaped facility. "It's a different environment. Their (basketball) fans are real loud.''

Thomas returns to action

It was no surprise that Harrick decided to play sophomore forward Steve Thomas. Thomas, re-instated Thursday after missing three games due to a suspension, did not start but he also was one of Harrick's first substitutions. Partly due to Chris Daniels' foul trouble, Thomas played 25 minutes - probably more than Harrick planned.

Harrick had said he would decide Saturday if he would play Thomas. Jonas Hayes retained the starting position he assumed when Thomas was suspended. Thomas scored eight points but grabbed only one rebound.

Thomas was one of three Georgia student-athletes - including two basketball players - named in an alleged Jan. 14 rape on campus. There have been no charges filed. The other basketball player named in the case, Tony Cole, did not make the trip.

"Cole had some academic work and some personal things he and I are working on that have nothing to do with the (rape case),'' Harrick said. "(Cole) is still on the team, still on scholarship.''

A source close to the team said Cole has much to accomplish before he can meet Harrick's standard for returning to an active role on the team.

Stitches for Williams

When Daniels' last-second shot bounced around and then fell off no good, Ezra Williams bent over in pain, his hand covering his right eye. On that last play of the game, Williams caught an elbow from Vanderbilt forward Brian Thornton that opened a gash beside his eye. He was taken to a Nashville medical facility for stitches before Georgia flew back to Athens.

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