He would get no argument out of 7,533 witnesses at Memorial Gym on a night when the weather outside turned frightful. Vanderbilt finally put away Appalachian State 68-51 to move to 7-0 at home and 7-4 on the year.
Julian Terrell led the way with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Corey Smith chipped in with 16 points and nine boards. Smith injured his back during Monday's game and wasn't sure he would even be able to go against the Mountaineers (5-4).
"We might not be here talking about a win without Corey's effort," Stallings said.
Smith went through the shootaround and decided he would give it a go. He immediately gave the Dores a lift in the first half, as Vanderbilt came out lethargic, apparently with the looming Christmas break on its collective mind.
"I was on the bench and it just seemed like the team needed a lift," said Smith, who came off the bench for the fourth straight game. "I was glad to make some things happen to get us going."
Vanderbilt trailed 11-7, marking its biggest home deficit of the season, but back-to-back threes from Smith gave Vanderbilt the lead for good.
That is not to say it was easy. Vanderbilt committed 21 turnovers, many of the ugly variety, and shot just 41 percent for the game. Fortunately, Appalachian State shot just 27 percent after coming into the game shooting at a 49 percent clip.
"We didn't shoot the ball very well," Stallings said. "I thought our rebounding and defense won the game for us."
Vanderbilt was forced to go with a small lineup to run with Appalachian State's quicker lineup, as point guards Mario Moore (11 points) and Alex Gordon (7) saw significant action together. The duo combined for seven turnovers and shot just 5-for-18 from the floor.
The gold star of the game, however, belonged to Terrell, who scored all 16 points in the second half. Terrell scored 10 straight Vanderbilt points during a 10-4 run that extended a 43-35 lead to 53-39 with 5:55 to play.
"Consistency is a big thing (the coaches) stress with me," Terrell said. "Games like tonight show that this could be an every night type of thing for me. It is something I need to do."
Vanderbilt will take a week off, then host Dayton on Dec. 29 at Memorial Gym. Until then, the Dores will reflect on a modest three-game winning streak.
"It doesn't always have to look good," Stallings said. "I told the guys afterward that we'll take every 17-point victory we can get."
Vanderbilt forward DeMarre Carroll, left, drives against Appalachian State's Derek Thomas (14) in the first half Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2004, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)