Vandy Wallops Liberty, 96-61

The Vanderbilt Commodores used senior leadership to dominate the scrappy Liberty Flames, 96-61, in the 2001-02 season opener at Memorial Gymnasium. Seniors Sam Howard and Chuck Moore combined for 46 points to lead the Commodores to a non-conference victory over a Big South opponent.

Vanderbilt took the lead early when sophomore guard Brendan Plavich hit a three pointer with less than a minute into the game. Moment's later Liberty took their only lead of the game when Chris Caldwell hit a jumper to give the Flames a 4-3 edge.   The Commodore's hit their first two three-pointers of the game but cooled off later to 33% (10 of 30) for the night from three point land.   

Some early first half foul problems and ten Vandy turnovers created some concerns but the Commodores took care of business against an overmatched opponent.   With 16 minutes remaining in the half Vandy's lead stood at just 10-8.   Later, with 14 minutes remaining, a three pointer by Sam Howard put Vandy up 15-8.

With 12 minutes remaining in the half the Commodores lead grew to 21-10.  With nine minutes remaining the lead had grown to 27-12.  Hard nosed play by the Flame's Chris Caldwell kept the game from getting too ugly early.   Caldwell finished with 17 points. 

A 3-pointer by Chuck Moore with seconds remaining in the half gave the Commodores a 45-27 lead at intermission.     

In the second half the Vanderbilt played much more disciplined basketball and limited their turnovers.  The 'Dores lead grew to as much as 37 points in the closing minutes.

As a team, Vanderbilt hit 49% (34 of 70) of their field goals to 35% (21 of 60) for Liberty.   From three point land the Commodores made 33% (10 of 30) to Liberty's 31% (4 of 13).    From the free throw line, Vanderbilt made 82% (18 of 22) compared to 62% (15 of 24) for Liberty.  Rebounding for the game was a stalemate with both teams getting 39.  After a poor start Vanderbilt won the turnover war getting just 14 to Liberty's 25. 

Individual scorers were as follows: Sam Howard 24, Chuck Moore 22, Matt Freije 12, David Przybyszewski 9, Corey Smith 9, Brendan Plavich 8, Jason Holwerda 6, Brian Thornton 4, Scott Hundley 2.   

The Commodores are now 1-0 on the young season and will next travel to the University Connecticut for a much anticipated Monday evening contest.

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