Men's hoops: Freshmen shine, VU romps, 82-54

The Vanderbilt Commodores opened the 2004-05 season with a convincing 82-54 exhibition win over the University of Panamericana of Mexico, as five players scored in double figures for the home team. Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stalling used the game as a developmental tool, playing freshmen liberally throughout the contest. The freshmen responded with solid performances in their introduction to college basketball.

Senior Jason Holwerda scored on a tip-in just 59 seconds into the contest to initiate the Vanderbilt scoring. The two teams played evenly for the next few minutes before a 3-point shot by freshman guard Alex Gordon put Vanderbilt up 13-9 with just under 14 minutes remaining in the first half. Fellow freshman Shan Foster drilled another three for the Commodores with 10:13 remaining to extend the Commodore lead to 11 at 22-11. Foster would go on to score 9 points and Gordon would contribute 10 for the Commodore cause.

Shan Foster's dunk (VandyMania / Bryce Wells)
"As freshmen, we haven't been exposed to college basketball so we were hyped. We did get ahead of ourselves at times. All of us just wanted to get out there and help the team win," said a confident Foster after the game.

The Vanderbilt lead bulged to 43-19 with 1:41 remaining in the half when a third freshman, Alan Metcalfe, scored on a jumper after pulling down an offensive rebound. Metcalfe, the big center from England, pulled down 6 rebounds (4 offensive) in just 13 minutes of action.

A dunk by Panamericana's Gerson Hernandez closed out the first half scoring with the Commodores in command, 47-22. Hernandez went on to finish second in scoring for the Mexican team with 14 behind teammate Froylan Verdugo who finished with 20 to lead all scorers.

In the second half the Commodores picked up right where they left off. A dunk by senior guard Jason Holwerda put Vandy up 65-32 with 10:22 remaining. Holwerda, who was often been encouraged by supporters and coaches alike to take more shots throughout his career, made 6 of 11 field goals and finished with 12 points to lead all Vanderbilt scorers. Holwerda, despite the lopsided score, had these comments after the game, "We started getting beat down the floor after made baskets. We would score; and before you know it, they had a fast-break lay-up."

A Corey Smith dunk after a steal gave Vanderbilt its biggest lead of the game at 35. The Commodores led 67-32 with 9 minutes remaining in the game.

Later the senior Smith made a lay-up as time expired to make the final score 82-54 in Vanderbilt's favor. Smith finished with 10 points in 20 minutes of action.

Freshmen accounted for 61 of the total 200 minutes of Vanderbilt playing time and 25 of the 82 points scored. "In the first half, I thought our freshmen went in and played well. In the second half, they played like freshmen. They were exciting in the first half. They do have ability. It's a matter of them figuring out how to play together. Our success is going to be dictated by our veterans. Right now, what our freshman need to do is come in and keep us stable. We don't need them to win games for us right now," said a reserved Kevin Stallings after the game.

Other double digit scorers for Vanderbilt included Mario Moore with 11 points and Julian Terrell with 10.

Vanderbilt next hosts Alabama-Huntsville on Saturday night at 5 p.m. to close out exhibition play before hosting the Toledo Rockets on November 19 to open regular season play.

Commodores Daily Top Stories