Vanderbilt ends streak; defeats Ole Miss, 73-51

The 6 a.m. practices didn't do the trick. So Kevin Stallings decided to shake up the starting lineup. On the brink of a five-game losing streak, Vanderbilt awoke from its recent funk and spanked Ole Miss 73-51 on Saturday as Mario Moore and Dawid Przybyszewski found themselves in reserve roles.

It was an inspired effort from the Dores, especially on the defensive end, as Ole Miss shot just 35 percent and Tommie Eddie had two points, 10 below his average.

"I really compliment our effort and intensity on defense today," said Stallings, whose team stands 3-4 in the SEC and 12-8 overall with Tennessee and Kentucky visiting in the next seven days. "We worked hard to limit Ole Miss' good shots."

Ole Miss coach Rod Barnes agreed.

"They played better defense than we had seen on tape," he said.

At the other end, the shots were falling for Vanderbilt to the tune of a season-high 61 percent as Vanderbilt strayed a bit from its reliance on the three-pointer and instead looked to get the ball inside more. Post players Ted Skuchas, Alan Metcalfe (first career start) and Przybyszewski shot 6-for-9 from inside the arc, and Vanderbilt shot 78 percent overall from two.

"When you get shots inside and you get to the line, that's good," said Moore, noting Vanderbilt also took 18 free throws. "We'll take that every time we can get it."

After a promising 2-0 start to conference play, Vanderbilt lost three straight, including an ugly effort against an undermanned Georgia squad. Stallings had 6 a.m. practices before Wednesday's South Carolina game, but the Dores again came up short.

To finally break the streak, Stallings decided to bench Moore and Przybyszewski, and he wasn't worried about their reaction.

"At this point in the season, I can't be worried about how guys respond," Stallings said of the shakeup. "They have a responsibility to their teammates to respond in the right way. I can't control their response and I can't worry about their response."

Stallings did not say if Alex Gordon would continue to start in place of Moore, who played 24 minutes. Gordon had no points, two assists and three turnovers in 14 minutes.

Skuchas finished with 11 points (and no rebounds) and Metcalfe had five, including a three-pointer, as the Commodores tried to establish a presence in the low post. Julian Terrell missed the game because he was with his family following the death of his mother on Thursday.

Vanderbilt led 36-25 at the break and steadily extended the lead throughout the second half. The highlight-reel sequence came when Jason Holwerda saved a ball on the defensive end and Smith and Moore executed a pretty 2-on-1 with Moore flipping a return pass back to Smith while in the air for a layup. The play pushed the lead to 56-41 and the Dores never led Ole Miss back in the game.


Vanderbilt's Corey Smith (44) blocks the shot of Mississippi's Kendrick Fox (4) as Vanderbilt's Alan Metcalfe (11) defends during the second half of Vanderbilt's 73-51 win in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, Jan. 29, 2005. (AP Photo/John Russell)

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