Vandy trips Vols, 67-62

Freshman guard Alex Gordon scored a career-high 30 points, including the clinching free throws with 15 seconds left, as Vanderbilt beat Tennessee 67-62 Wednesday night in Nashville.

Vandy led just 56-54 with three minutes remaining, then Gordon scored eight of the Commodores' final 11 points. Corey Smith chipped in 19 points for Vandy. Chris Lofton scored 16 for Tennessee but got only two of those after halftime. Scooter McFadgon chipped in 12, all but two coming in the second half.

Vandy improves to 13-8 overall and 4-4 in SEC play. The Dores are 12-0 when they lead entering the final two minutes. Tennessee slips to 10-11 and 3-5.

Tennessee opened with a small lineup featuring 6-foot-7 Andre Patterson and four guards -- Lofton, McFadgon, C.J. Watson and Dane Bradshaw. This was partly due to the fact two big men were sidelined -- Brandon Crump because of a sprained ankle, Jemere Hendrix because of an academic-related suspension.

With Tennessee's superior quickness offsetting Vanderbilt's superior height, the Vols raced to an early lead. Lofton hit an 18-footer, a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws as Tennessee went up 9-4. Stanley Asumnu scored inside for an 11-4 lead. Moments later, Major Wingate scored on a layup and a 16-footer as the shot clock was dwindling, boosting the bulge to 15-6.

Buckets by Shan Foster, Mario Moore and Corey Smith enabled Vandy to pull within 15-12. Scooter McFadgon followed a missed foul shot by Wingate to put Tennessee up 18-12 moments later. However, the Vols only scoring the rest of the half would be three 3-pointers by Lofton.

Gordon was even hotter for Vandy, hitting three 3s, a two-pointer and three free throws as the Commodores went to the break ahead 32-27. Oddly, freshmen Lofton and Gordon had 14 points each to lead all scorers.

Gordon hit another 3 to open the second half, building Vandy's lead to 35-27. Yet another Gordon 3 pushed the Commodore bulge to nine points (42-33) moments later.

C.J. Watson hit a 3 to open Tennessee's rally. A follow by Patterson and an inside shot by Wingate closed the gap to four (44-40). Vandy surged briefly but McFadgon hit a 3 that pulled Tennessee within three points (54-51) with 5:20 to go.

Smith hit a pair of free throws with 4:39 left, boosting the Vandy lead to 56-51, but McFadgon answered with a nice inside move. Dane Bradshaw hit one of two free throws as the Vols closed to 56-54 but Gordon answered with two free throws for the Dores.

Fouled on a drive, Watson hit the basket and the ensuing free throw, pulling Tennessee within 58-57 with 2:25 to go. Smith answered with a 3-point bomb as the shot clock was about to expire, however, boosting Vandy's lead to 61-57 with 1:57 remaining.

Following a traveling call against Bradshaw, Gordon broke free for an uncontested layup, boosting the lead to 63-57 with 1:20 to go. Patterson hit one of two free throws, and it was 63-58 with 1:18 left.

After a traveling call against Watson, Gordon hit one of two free throws, boosting the lead to 64-58 with 37.7 seconds remaining. Watson nailed a pair of foul shots with 32.5 seconds left but Gordon hit one free throw for Vandy. Patterson scored inside, closing the gap to 65-62. But Gordon iced the win by hitting two free throws with 15 seconds left.

Tennessee returns to action Saturday night, hosting LSU at 7.

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