BATON ROUGE -- Antonio Hudson scored a career-high 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting, as the LSU men's basketball team advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2002 Southeastern Conference Tournament with a 69-62 victory over the Eastern Division's fifth-seeded Vanderbilt Commodores in the first round on Thursday.
The Tigers will face the Eastern Division's No. 1 seed, the Georgia Bulldogs, on Friday at noon for a chance to advance to the semifinals. Georgia, which LSU lost to by 55-54 on Feb. 23, received a first round bye.
LSU (17-13), the fourth seed out of the Western Division, won its opening game in the conference tournament for the third-straight season for the first time since 1986-88. The Tigers have won five of their past seven games, holding their opponents to only 60.1 points per game.
Vanderbilt, which shot under 40 percent from the field and committed 22 turnovers, fell to 16-14 to end the season. The Commodores await a bid to the National Invitational Tournament.
Along with Hudson's 24, senior Jermaine Williams added 12 and point guard Torris Bright had 11. The Tigers were 17-of-23 from the free throw line for 73.9 percent.
In the first half, the Tigers led by as much as 15, 25-10, with 5:37 to play after a 16-0 run over an eight-minute stretch. However, Vanderbilt answered the Tigers' run by scoring 13 straight including a pair of three-point plays and a three-pointer by Moore. LSU did not score in the final 7:08 of the half, missing its last eight shots and committing three turnovers. Moore scored 11 of Vanderbilt's points during the 13-0 run.
LSU led 25-23 at the half.
The Commodores continued their run in the second half by taking a 26-25 lead on a three-pointer by Moore. With Dupree on the bench with three fouls, LSU responded with a 15-7 run to take a 40-33 lead with 12 minutes to play in the game.
After LSU extended its lead to nine, 45-36, on a dunk by Jason Wilson with 9:19 to play, but missed on four opportunities to distance themselves from the Commodores over the next two minutes. Dupree was forced to take a seat on the bench with his fourth foul with 7:33 left, leading to a four-point trip for Vanderbilt to cut the lead to 45-40.
The Tigers continued to turn solid defense into points on the offensive end to go up by 12, 61-49, with under two minutes to play. Vanderbilt took advantage of LSU's prevent defense to cut the lead to five, 67-62, with 11 seconds left, but got no closer.