Vanderbilt struggles, downs Morehead 83-73

The Vanderbilt Commodores used superior rebounding and sharp free throw shooting to down the Morehead State Eagles 83-73 in a game played at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, Tennessee.

The win improved the Commodores record to 10-3 on the season and wrapped up the pre Southeastern Conference schedule.  Vanderbilt plays at Georgia on Saturday, January 5, 2001 to open SEC play.

Morehead got off to a great start and led much of the first half.  The Eagles were paced by sophomore forward Ricky Minard who would have 32 points in the game.  

Trailing 20-17, an 11-0 run got the Commodores ticking.  Vanderbilt freshman Corey Smith's layup with 10:52 remaining in the first half put the Commodores up for the first time 21-20.  The 11-0 run ended with Vandy sporting an 8 point lead at 28-20.   Vanderbilt's first half lead grew to as much as 14 before Morehead State's Marquis Sykes drained a three as time expired in the half to cut the Commodore lead to 11 at 47-36. 

A three pointer by Brendan Plavich with 16:11 remaining in the game gave Vandy it's biggest lead of the game at 15 (55-40).  From there the Eagles started to chip away at the Commodore lead.  A six minute Vandy scoring drought coupled with super Morehead defense and 3-point shooting enabled the Eagles to retake the lead on a layup by Kyle Umberger with 6:31 remaining in the contest (Morehead 60 Vanderbilt 59).  

Sophomore Matt Freije ended the scoring drought with a 3-point play with 6:13 remaining in the contest that enabled Vandy to retake the lead at 62-60.   Back to back three pointers by Sam Howard pushed the Vandy lead out to 68-60 with five minutes remaining. 

For the remainder of the game the Eagles would never get closer than 3 points.  Morehead desperately fouled Commodore players but to no avail.  The Commodores cooly hit 10 foul shots in the last two minutes of the game.

The Commodore skipper, Kevin Stallings, had this to say after the game: "I thought that Morehead State played very well, particularly in the second half. We went cold in the second half, but fortunately, we got some rebounds and second chance points. We went to the boards hard, but we didn't always convert. That's the best we've done rebounding all season. We gave ourselves more opportunities. I was pleased with how we rebounded the ball tonight."

For the game the Commodores shot just 40% from field goal range compared to 45% for Morehead. From three point range: Vanderbilt 32%; Morehead 26%.  From the free throw line: Vanderbilt 79% Morehead 63%. The Commodores out rebounded the Eagles 49 to 30 in one of their best rebounding performances of the season. 

Senior Sam Howard was Vandy's top scorer for the game.  Sam scored 17 and tallied three 3-pointers and 5 rebounds.  Fellow senior Chuck Moore added 16 points along with 8 rebounds.  Matt Freije scored 14 points and had 9 rebounds.  Other scorers included Brian Thornton 7 (11 rebounds); Jason Holwerda 9; Brendan Plavich 9; Scott Hundley 4; Corey Smith 5; David Przybyszewski 2. Top Stories