"Mario coming back is going to be a plus because he's a veteran," Gordon said. "Even though we compete, we help each other. But we compete hard."
Vanderbilt survived Moore's two-game suspension without too much difficulty, knocking off Jacksonville State Friday and Furman Sunday by over 20 points each. But both games featured slow first halves, Sunday even more so than Friday when Vanderbilt actually trailed Furman 38-36 at the break.
Stallings said he was not concerned with the slow starts in both games.
"As we play some games, the rust will come off," Stallings said. "I like the fact that we are coming out strong in the second half."
Vanderbilt used an 18-2 run to finally break away from Furman, snapping a 52-52 tie with 12 minutes to go. The Commodores scored in a variety of ways, but rarely from outside. Vanderbilt hit just two threes in the second half on its way to 45 points.
Several Commodores filled up the box score, as Shan Foster again led in the scoring department with 25 points. Julian Terrell was off shooting the ball (2-for-8), but he grabbed 12 rebounds. DeMarre Carroll scored a career-high 18 points off the bench, and Ted Skuchas recorded his first double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Furman was led by Eric Webb, who hit five three-pointers and scored 21 points.
"They do a good job getting into offense," Stallings said.
The Commodores put the clamps on in the second half, limiting the Paladins to 22 points and 29 percent shooting.
Two of the biggest ovations of the night came during timeouts. Highlights from the Vanderbilt-Tennessee football game were shown with 2:28 to go in the first half, drawing a long, loud ovation from the 6,032 assembled fans. At the next time out, coach Bobby Johnson was featured, and a standing ovation ensued for the first Vanderbilt football coach to beat Tennessee since George McIntyre in 1982.
The basketball team watched the second half of the historic 28-24 Vanderbilt victory in the locker room Saturday before practice.
"We were kind of scared at first," Foster said. "We have a history of losing those games. It was great to see them pull it out. We were all rooting for them. It was a great environment. It is great to see them on top right now."
Bill Trocchi is the Interactive Editor for Athon Sports.
Furman's Gerad Punch, right, guards against Vanderbilt forward DeMarre Carroll, left, in the first half on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2005, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)