Vandy pounds Eagles 98-79; Freije pours in 31

NASHVILLE-- Vanderbilt (7-0) overcame offensive-minded Tennessee Tech 98-79 Saturday night in a performance that made amends for a lackluster victory over Tennessee State on Wednesday. The Commodores recorded a school-record tying 29 assists as Matt Freije scored 31 points, one shy of his career-high. Julian Terrell also filled up the box score with authority, scoring a career-high 16 points, to go along with eight rebounds and six assists.

NASHVILLE-- If this team does end up in the AP Top 25 next week for the first time in four years, Vanderbilt can feel good about itself and its latest outing, something that could not be said earlier in the week.

Vanderbilt (7-0) overcame offensive-minded Tennessee Tech 98-79 Saturday night in a performance that made amends for a lackluster victory over Tennessee State on Wednesday.

"I was happy to see the players bounce back from Wednesday's game, particularly with how they took care of the basketball," coach Kevin Stallings said.

Matt Freije led the way with 31 points, one short of a career high.
Vanderbilt beat the Golden Eagles with some textbook offense of its own. The Commodores recorded a school-record tying 29 assists as Matt Freije scored 31 points, one shy of his career-high. Julian Terrell filled up the box score with authority, scoring a career-high 16 points, to go along with eight rebounds and six assists.

"Julian Terrell played a great game," Stallings said. "I was real pleased."

David Przybyszewski played his version of an inside-outside game, scoring from the outside (9 points on 3 3-pointers) and rebounding on the inside (8). Jason Holwerda dished out 7 assists, including two alley-oop dunks to Mr. Freije. Vanderbilt's guards combined for 19 assists and 6 turnovers.

"We are a very unselfish team," Stallings said. "We emphasized taking care of the ball the last few days. We were disappointed with the carelessness from Wednesday night. Tonight, the ball was hitting a lot of hands."

Tennessee Tech entered the game with a 4-1 record, its lone blemish a 108-81 loss at Kentucky. The Golden Eagles averaged 88 points a game and showed why with a relentless attack that kept Vanderbilt from ever getting comfortable until the very end.

Cameron Crisp led four Tennessee Tech scorers in double figures with a season-high 26 points, including five 3-pointers. Willie Jenkins (16 points), Milone Clark (16), and Will Moore (11) also scored in double-figures for the Golden Eagles.

Tennessee Tech shot 43 percent from three.

The 79 points for Tennessee Tech were a season-high by a Vanderbilt opponent.

"They are a very good offensive basketball team and we knew that coming in," Stallings said. "Our guys fought them, but they shook loose and are very quick."

Freije compared Tennessee Tech to IUPUI with regard to their quickness and lack of height.

The Commodores were able to pound the ball inside in the second half and shot 63 percent from two for the game.

The game was not decided until a 12-0 Vanderbilt run slammed the door with 2:19 to play. Vanderbilt led 96-73 at that point, and the only question was whether the score would reach the century mark.

With seven days before Wofford visits Memorial Gym, the Commodores can now turn their attention to the polls, where they have a chance to pop up for the first time since the Feb. 21, 2000 poll.

"The Top 25 would be really nice," Terrell said. "It is not something we strive for, we just want to win games. But if we got in, it would be really cool. We'd just rather be there later on in the season."

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Bill Trocchi is the online editor at Athlon Sports.

Photos by Neil Brake, courtesy Associated Press.


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