Vanderbilt tops Jacksonville State, 67-46

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – So how far has Julian Terrell's game come? He scored 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds in Vanderbilt's season-opening 67-46 victory over Jacksonville State on Friday night. And both he and coach Kevin Stallings thought there was much to improve on.

"I wasn't real happy with the way I played," Terrell said. "Ten and nine is fine, but I can always do better."

Stallings echoed the Nashville senior's sentiments.

"That was not a stellar performance," he said. "It is why he's gotten to be a better player. Ten points and nine rebounds is just OK now. He still doesn't have his timing back from the injury."

The whole Commodore effort was not a stellar performance, especially in the first half, but it was good enough for Vanderbilt to win its 10th straight season opener and extend its non-conference home winning streak to 25.

"It was a very typical first outing," Stallings said. "Rough around the edges. Not smooth offensively. We didn't play well defensively in the first half … It wasn't exactly what we were hoping for, but at the same time, we dominated the boards, we took reasonably good care of the basketball and we got to the foul line."

Shan Foster led the way with 17 points, and Ted Skuchas tied a career-high with 11 against the undersized Gamecocks. Virginia transfer Derrick Byers scored 10 in his Vanderbilt debut.

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"I think that is probably what you'll see from us all season," Stallings said. "Hopefully we'll have three, four or five guys in or near double figures and Shan probably will score the most."

Alex Gordon started at point guard in place of senior Mario Moore, who will miss the first two games of the regular season due to a suspension for a violation of team rules. Gordon finished with four points and five assists, but the Commodores offense looked out of sync, particularly in the first half.

"We depend on Mario's leadership on the court," Foster said. "Alex got bent out of shape a little bit in the first half but he did better in the second half."

Vanderbilt led just 31-27 at the break, but dominated in the second half, shooting 64 percent and forcing 11 turnovers defensively. A 22-5 run gave Vanderbilt a 56-36 lead and the Dores never looked back at their Ohio Valley Conference counterparts.

"We were disappointed in our defensive effort in the first half," Foster said. "We exerted our will on them in the second half."

Jacksonville State (0-1) put up a game effort for a half but wilted, especially when last year's leading scorer, Walker Russell, left with a foot injury.

"They flexed their muscles a bit (in the second half)," Jacksonville State coach Mike LaPlante said. "They pretty much dominated us in every phase of the game and had an incredibly high percentage on their shots in the first five minutes (of the second half)."


Stallings announced after the game freshmen George Drake and Kyle Madsen will redshirt this season. They dressed out but did not play against Jacksonville State.

"We are going to redshirt both of the freshmen. They suited up tonight because I wanted them to get a feel for warm-ups and the game itself. We may continue to do that. We are very excited about both of them. They will be great players."

Bill Trocchi is the Interactive Editor for Athlon Sports.

Vanderbilt guard Dan Cage, left, tries to drive past Jacksonville State forward Harold Crow, right, during the first half. Vanderbilt forward Julian Terrell, back, looks on. (AP Photo/Mike Strasinger) Top Stories