Vanderbilt's offense sinks Gamecocks, 89-79

Even in their first conference loss, at least one Gamecock was up to the task of elevating his game. A hot shooting Vanderbilt team was able to take down South Carolina with consistent and timely shooting in the second half, even as Devan Downey hit a season high with 35 points.

Building on a six point advantage at halftime, the Commodores were able to take down the Gamecocks by a score of 89-79. The 89 points given up by USC was the most they had allowed all season.

Vanderbilt shot 61% from the field on Saturday night, using 22 points and 9 rebounds from all-star A.J. Ogilvy to hold off several USC attempts at a comeback.

"You won't beat anyone when they shoot 61 percent against you," said coach Darrin Horn after the game. "There were things we did well and spots we played with energy and aggressiveness we need to have, but it wasn't good enough. That's the bottom line."

Despite a pesky defense that had 5 steals in the first half, the Gamecocks were having trouble defending a hot shooting Vanderbilt squad, shooting 71% in the early going. Although they were led by center A.J. Ogilvy coming in, the Commodores did a good job spreading the ball around with nine different players scoring in the first half.

Although they had a more than decent first half shooting the ball, it was a struggle for the Gamecocks to keep up with a scorching Vandy squad that shot 63% from the field and 71% from 3-point range in the opening frame.

The first half was not without several exciting moments for USC fans, with Devan Downey doing what he does best and scoring 18 points in the opening half for the home squad. But perhaps the loudest cheer of the first half came when the game was actually delayed for several minutes due to a problem with the Colonial Center lights.

Gamecock RB recruit Marcus Lattimore was greeted to the cheers of several thousand fans, urging him to pledge to the home state team.

With their steady offensive prowess in full force, Kevin Stallings' ‘Dore team went into the half with a 41-35 lead. Guard Jeffery Taylor the balanced Vandy attack with 9 points in the first half. For South Carolina, it was once again the Devan Downey show, and their guard continued to deliver.

Horn was once again complimentary of the player who keeps coming up big for his team.

"I thought Devan was really good tonight," added Horn. "I think it was our overall ... he could have been better defensively on the ball, not to excuse him from everything."

If Vanderbilt was hot in the first half shooing the basketball, they came out simply blazing after the break. After leading at halftime by just a 6 point margin, the Commodores quickly opened up double digit lead after getting the Gamecocks into early foul trouble.

In the bonus with over 13 minutes left in the half, the ‘Dores used a steady dose of Ogilvy and company inside to draw fouls and make the Gamecocks pay at the free throw line. Along with foul shots going to their advantage, Vanderbilt used a strong inside game to open up a huge rebounding margin.

The Commodores were not only able to move the ball inside, but did a good job scoring in transition, finishing the game with 16 fast break points.

To achieve their goals of winning in conference, coach Horn said that the defensive focus of his team had to improve.

"In the second half it was a result of they got a couple of easy ones when we lost focus of what we need to do," said Horn. "We lost assignment of who's supposed to be back when Devan drives. It still goes back to individually not doing what they need to do and as a team not being locked in on stuff."

Darrin Horn's team attempted to put together several runs to close the gap, but was consistently held at bay by the physical Vanderbilt defense. The USC was not done either, finishing with 14 steals that kept the Commodores from putting the game out of reach until late in the second half.

"If you can get on a run that helps it," added Horn. "Experience helps it an awful lot. We're playing a lot of young guys. The bottom line is getting off to a better start. That facilitates it into the rest of the game."

Along with Downey, the Gamecocks had three other players in double figures scoring. Lakeem Jackson added 11, Sam Muldrow 10, and Brandis Raley-Ross added 11 points of his own.

The Commodores were led not only by Ogilvy, but also Jeffery Taylor with 16.

Vanderbilt's bench came up huge in the win, outscoring USC's bench by a 30-7 margin. The 'Dores also outscored the Gamecocks in the paint, 46-36. The Commodores moved to 3-0 in the SEC, while Carolina fell to 2-1.

The Gamecocks will hit the road again next week, taking on Ole Miss on Wednesday night and Florida on Saturday in Gainesville.

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