Can Vols frustrate Freije?

Vanderbilt's Matt Freije is the SEC's leading scorer this season at 19.2 points per game, yet he scored just 8 points on 2-of-12 shooting in a Jan. 14 game at Tennessee. If the Vols are to have any chance of winning tonight's rematch in Nashville (8 p.m. tipoff at Memorial Gym), they'll need to do a similar job of keeping Freije at bay.

One key: The Vols got physical with Freije in January, bumping him out of his preferred shooting spots and keeping him from finding a rhythm. With the rematch on Vandy's homefloor, can the Vols be as physical this time?

''We have to in order to be successful,'' head coach Buzz Peterson said. ''He's had his way with us (in the 2003 meetings) but we did a good job with him last game ... held him to eight points.''

Vanderbilt is 18-7 overall and 7-7 in SEC play with a No. 25 RPI rating. Tennessee, on the other hand, is 14-11 and 6-8 with a No. 73 RPI.

Tennessee won the earlier meeting by shutting down Vandy's potent perimeter game. The Vols limited the Commodores to a paltry 19-percent mark (4 of 21) from 3-point range, including an icy 6.7 percent (1 of 15) in the second half.

''We took away the 3, made 'em put it on the floor a little bit,'' Peterson said. ''That caused some problems.''

Tennessee built a 13-point lead in the second half of that game but Vandy closed to 65-62 on a Freije layup and a Scott Hundley with 2:51 to go. A 3-pointer by Scooter McFadgon widened the gap to 68-62, then an unlikely hero sealed the deal.

With three seconds left on the shot clock, Jemere Hendrix nailed a 25-foot jumper -- his only 3-pointer of the year -- to widen the gap to 71-62 with 1:32 left.

The Vols are 0-7 in SEC road games, losing by an average of 22 points per game. On a positive note, however, they have won the last three meetings at Vandy's Memorial Gym.


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