Vanderbilt avoided the upset at home on Wednesday night, defeating the Marquette Golden Eagles 77-76. Jeffery Taylor led the Commodores with 19 points and 8 rebounds alongside two steals and two blocks.
"Marquette is really a tough team," said Taylor, who led all scorers. "They kept on fighting back. I think we showed a lot of toughness and a lot of poise."
Forward Andre Walker was the perfect example of poise, sinking a layup with four seconds remaining to give Vanderbilt the one-point victory. Walker, who has been sidelined with mononucleosis, picked up seven points and eight rebounds in his first game since December 1st.
"That was a terrific game," said an exhausted Coach Kevin Stallings following the game. "We got really good play from a lot of guys."
The win comes despite a poor performance from John Jenkins, who made just two of the 15 three-pointers he attempted. Jenkins' only other field goals came on fast break layups. "John Jenkins didn't have his normal shooting night," admitted Stallings. "We were able to overcome that, which is really a feather in our team's cap."
Even though Vanderbilt held a double-digit lead at two different points, Marquette continued to fight back and took their first lead of the game with two minutes remaining in the half. Jenkins missed a three-pointer to end the first half and Vanderbilt entered the locker room trailing by three.
With just over 12 minutes remaining in the game, John Jenkins was fouled as he made his first three-pointer and capitalized from the line to finish the four point play, stretching Vanderbilt's lead to 59-51. Although it looked like the Commodores would be able to pull away, Marquette forced turnovers on three of four possessions to stay in the game and go on a 9-2 run.
Both teams would go back and forth for the remainder of the game, and Marquette guard Dwight Buycks hit a long jump shot to give his team a one-point lead with 19 seconds remaining. Following a Vanderbilt timeout, Brad Tinsley fed the ball to Andre Walker in the paint, and he converted the layup to seal the Vanderbilt win.
"We were running a play… We've been working on it all week, and we've scored every time," explained Coach Stallings. The play gave multiple players a chance to take a shot. "All of a sudden Brad made a terrific feed to Andre and he of course scored."
Senior guard Jimmy Butler led Marquette's balanced offensive attack with 15 points. Four other Marquette players scored in double figures. As a team, the Golden Eagles shot an impressive 56% from the field, the highest percentage Vanderbilt has allowed so far this year. However, they shot just seven of 13 from the free throw line.
Vanderbilt missed junior forward Lance Goulbourne, who was on the bench serving the final game of a two-game suspension. The NCAA suspended him for receiving an improper benefit while purchasing a parking permit through a student manager. Goulbourne is averaging 8.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game for the Commodores.
Vanderbilt will host the Davidson Wildcats (6-5) on Sunday afternoon in Memorial Gymnasium.
Walker Lifts Commodores past Marquette
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