Georgia Tech: 5 season ending games

For the 2005-06 season, Georgia Tech is Vanderbilt's non-conference finale. Conference play begins Saturday with Auburn coming to Memorial Gymnasium. Georgia Tech was a member of the Southeastern Conference from its inception until June 30, 1964. The last several years of Tech's membership saw the Yellow Jackets visiting Nashville for the season-ending game against Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt vs. Georgia Tech
5 Season Ending Games
 
This annual season-ending game was quite a fierce rivalry, and the players on both squads played like a million dollars were on the line every time. More than once, it looked like a hockey game had broken out at Memorial Gym. Let's take a look at the last five of these season-ending games in the series when the Techsters were members of the SEC.
 
February 27, 1960
 
For Georgia Tech, this was a very important game. The sixth-ranked Yellow Jackets came to Nashville sporting a conference record of 11-2, tied with Auburn for first place. Auburn played a weak Alabama team that night, so Tech needed this game to tie for the Conference Championship. Kentucky was just one game back at 10-3, so if the Jackets lost to Vandy, they would more than likely finish tied for second.
 
Making this game a little less tense was the fact that Auburn was on probation in 1960 (something that school had become quite accustom to experiencing in both football and basketball) and Tech had already defeated Kentucky twice. Regardless of the outcome of the game with Vandy, the Engineers from Atlanta had already clinched a berth in the NCAA tournament.
 
Vanderbilt came into this game sporting a 6-7 record in the league and 13-9 mark overall. A win would guarantee the Commodores a first division finish.
 
For Coach Bob Polk, it meant more than the average game. He came from Georgia Tech, where he was the assistant, to replace Ted Hornback after Hornback left Vanderbilt just a couple of months into his tenure. The Yellow Jackets had won four of the last five games in this series, including the season ender in 1958 and the second to last game of 1959 (more about why 1959 was not the season ender follows this story). Earlier in the season, Tech edged Vandy in overtime in Atlanta.
 
Besides the revenge factor, it was also Polk's 45th birthday. Just a year and a half earlier, Polk didn't know whether he would live to see this special day. While on a recruiting trip in 1958, he suffered a heart attack at the age of 43. He would vacate his position just a year after this 1960 season at the age of 46 after doctors persuaded him to give up one of the most stressful professions. After two years out of coaching and working for Vanderbilt Hospital, Polk would be given a clean bill of health.  He would return to the coaching profession and enjoy a long career coaching at Trinity, St. Louis, and Rice.
 
Georgia Tech coach John "Whack" Hyder was a proponent of tough, physical defense and a power offense game. The Detroit Pistons during Chuck Daly's coaching reign played the same style. Quite often the Techsters fouled to stop an open basket, but they did so with the intent of sending a message to the opponents not to try that again.  Leading the way for Tech was first team all-Conference and all-American Roger Kaiser. Kaiser entered this game with a 22.8 scoring average; his shooting percentage was close to 50% (in 1960, 37.5% was about average). As a team, Tech shot better than 41% while holding opponents under 35%. Joining Kaiser at guard was underrated Bobby Dews, a defensive specialist. Powerful Dave Denton started at one forward, where he averaged 16 points per game; he played much like Bill Laimbeer with the Pistons. The other front court starters were center Jim Riley and forward Wayne Richards.
 
Coach Polk was in the process of building a strong team for 1961. The 1960 team had good talent, but the Commodores had played inconsistently for most of the season. Next year promised to be better, as assistant coach Roy Skinner had guided the freshman team to an unbeaten record with one game to go (unfortunately the Frosh would lose that game at Kentucky).
 
The Commodores' lone senior was leading rebounder and starting forward Ben Rowan. Rowan walked across the street to Vandy after graduating from Peabody Demonstration School (University School today). The bulk of the scoring from this team came at the guard positions where starters Bill Johnson and Bobby Bland were as good as any tandem in the league. Johnson was the bigger offensive threat, while Bland was the team quarterback and defensive star. Rounding out the starting five were center Bill Depp and forward Jack Pirrie, who replaced the smaller Ray Clark to give Vandy a taller lineup.
 
From the outset, this game was a defensive struggle. Georgia Tech changed defenses nearly every possession. They played a zone press, a half-court trap, a three quarter press, a tight man-to-man, and a half-court zone. Vanderbilt could not get an open shot in the opening minutes.
 
Vanderbilt's defense was equally brilliant. Tech liked to screen high for Kaiser, and then have him cut to the basket.  Polk ordered his team to follow the screeners to Kaiser, then switch off and play him aggressively. Polk also noticed that most of Kaiser's made shots came from the right side of the goal. He directed his players to force Kaiser to the left and harass him relentlessly whenever he went to the right. The plan worked perfectly.
 
Tech opened the game with a quick basket, and then neither team threatened with a field goal for several minutes. Vandy finally got on the scoreboard with three free throws to take a 3-2 lead. The Commodores went without a field goal for more than six minutes. Bland stopped the draught when he broke the Tech press and drove for a lay-up.
 
The lead see-sawed for the duration of the half. While Bland was holding Kaiser in check, Dews began picking up the slack with four field goals in a 12-minute stretch.  A basket in the final 30 seconds put Vandy up 26-24 at the break.
 
The lead continued to change hands in the first five minutes of the second half. Tech tied the score at 32-all with 15 minutes to go. Johnson took a pass from Bland and canned a mid-range jumper to put Vandy up by two. One possession later Pirrie hit a foul shot, and then Rowan beat the Tech defense for a lay-in. At 37-32, Vandy would never trail again.
 
In the closing minutes of the game, the Vanderbilt defense played its best ball of the entire season. Pirrie blocked numerous shots, most of them coming when a Yellow Jacket broke loose for an open drive to the hoop. Rowan completely shut down Denton, frustrating him every possession. Bland stuck to Kaiser like glue, forcing the star to take ill-advised and off-balance shots. Bland and Johnson played keep away in the final minute, and Vandy pulled off the upset 62-57.
 
For the game, Bland led Vandy with 16 points, 10 of them coming at the charity stripe. Rowan added 15 with a game high 17 rebounds. Johnson tallied 14, while Depp scored 12 to go with 12 boards. Kaiser led Tech with 16 points, well below his average. He shot a poor 6-16 from the field, as Bland forced him to shoot from outside his normal range of competence. Dews and Richards added 13 points apiece, while Denton was held by Rowan to just five points and five rebounds.
 
The Commodores held Tech to 35.1% shooting and won the battle on the boards 44-33. Coach Polk commented in the post-game about how Vandy won. "Our defense won the game. It was our top defensive effort of the year. It was a case of smart switching and helping each other."
 
March 4, 1961
 
The shoe was on the other foot for this regular season-ender. This time, Vanderbilt was playing for a chance at an NCAA tournament bid, while Georgia Tech was fighting to finish the year at .500 in the league and above .500 overall. After being picked as the pre-season co-favorite, Georgia Tech swooned in mid-January, falling out of the conference race. Tech basically had a one-man offense, led by the now first-team All-American Kaiser. Coming into his final collegiate game, Kaiser sported an average of 23.5 points per game. No other Techster averaged even eight points.
 
Vandy entered this game with a 9-4 record in the league and 18-4 record overall. They were tied for second with Kentucky. Conference champ Mississippi State had already declined the automatic NCAA bid as their state government refused to allow them to play against integrated teams. The second best team would get the bid. If both Vandy and Kentucky won, they would be forced to head to Knoxville for a playoff game. If the Commodores and Wildcats both lost, then a Florida win over Georgia would force a three-team playoff. This game was pressure-packed for the Gold Men.
 
There were two major differences in this year's Vanderbilt edition from the previous year' s club. First was a wealth of balance and depth. While the 1960 club relied on just six players, this club could go nine deep with exceptional talent. Four players averaged in double figures for the season, while a fifth did so in SEC play. Vanderbilt's front line was its most powerful to date. Bill Depp, Don Ringstaff, Larry Banks, and Ron Griffiths gave the Commodores a forward wall they had never before enjoyed. This quartet was muscular and agile. Depp earned first team all-SEC honors and honorable mention all-American honors with a scoring average of better than 17 per game and a rebounding average exceeding 13 per contest. Ringstaff garnered third team all-SEC accolades after averaging better than 11 points for the year. Griffiths had cracked the starting lineup late in the season after Ringstaff slumped a bit. He responded with a big game against Florida in Gainesville.
 
The backcourt had seen a major change with the pre-season loss of Bill Johnson, who led the 1960 squad in scoring. The offensive wizard had contracted pneumonia in the pre-season and would be lost until the last few weeks of the season. In his place, Polk inserted sophomore John Russell, who would prove to be the best defensive stopper in Commodore history. Even as a first-year player, Russell shadowed SEC guards every night, making their lives miserable. Offensively, Russell was Vandy's second leading scorer with an 11.2 average.  Bobby Bland returned to direct the team from his guard spot where he scored about 12 points per game; more importantly, the 5-10 "coach-on-the-floor" was perhaps the best passer ever to wear the black and gold (no assist stats were kept back then, but Bland probably averaged about six to eight per game for his three-year career). Bland missed four games during the year after suffering a shoulder injury. The 'Dores lost two of those games.
 
Georgia Tech coach Whack Hyder still employed multiple pressure defenses with this edition of Yellow Jackets. In the first few minutes of the game, he utilized both a three quarter court and half-court press.  Georgia Tech took a brief lead at 7-6 and appeared to be ready to give the home team a fierce battle. Every time a shot was released, the inside looked like a televised tag-team wrestling event. Elbows flied and landed on the faces of players on both teams. This was a war, and the sold out crowd of 7,324 rocked Memorial Gym.
 
Trailing by a point, Vandy broke the Tech press and Bland received the ball on the left elbow. He sank the shot and put Vandy ahead at 8-7. They would not trail again. The lead quickly jumped to double digits and moved to 15 at 33-18.  Kaiser hit multiple long-range jumpers to cut the lead to 11 as the first half buzzer sounded. The score was Vanderbilt 39 Georgia Tech 28.
 
Any ideas that the Engineers might have entertained about catching up were quickly quashed in the second half. Vandy ran the fast break to perfection in the opening minutes and quickly increased the lead to 20 points at 51-31. The game was not in doubt, and it allowed Coach Polk to remove his starters one at a time for a final ovation. Polk inserted two seldom used seniors for their final appearance, John Doninger and Warren Fiser. Vandy cruised to a 79-59 win to secure a berth in the NCAA playoff against Kentucky.
 
Four Commodores finished in double figures, led by Depp with 17. Russell tallied 15, Banks added 13, and Ringstaff came off the bench to contribute 12.
 
Kaiser led all scorers with 21 points, but he only hit 7 of 20 from the field. His teammates could only muster 13 of 44, thanks to an outstanding defensive effort by the Commodores. The battle of the boards went heavily in Vandy's favor. Depp and Banks both pulled down 19 rebounds. For Banks, who had just set the Vandy record with 26 boards against Georgia, he had a three-game total of 61 boards to close out the season.
 
Little did anyone in attendance know at the time, but they witnessed Coach Polk's last win at Vanderbilt. The Commodores lost to Kentucky in the playoff. After a medical checkup in the off-season, Polk was encouraged to retire from coaching to prevent a probable second heart attack.
 
March 3, 1962
 
This game was overshadowed by the events of that week. John Glenn had just returned from space after orbiting the Earth to one of the largest ticker tape parades ever.  President John F. Kennedy told the nation that the United States would resume conducting above-the-ground nuclear tests because the Soviet Union wouldn't agree to a test ban.  Nashville was experiencing one of the worst floods in its history, with the Cumberland River overtaking parts of downtown Nashville and closing the Jefferson Street Bridge; the flooded streets couldn't recede because the temperature dropped to the teens, freezing the water in place. It eventually forced the construction of the long-planned Percy Priest Dam.
 
In the basketball world, Wilt Chamberlain had just scored 100 points in a single game.  Earlier in the day before Vandy's game, Wisconsin had upset undefeated and top-ranked Ohio State.
 
Nothing but pride was on the line for the 1962 final game. Georgia Tech was mired near the basement with a 4-9 SEC mark and 10-15 overall. Roy Skinner's first year as full-time head coach (he was acting head coach in 1959) had been a rough one.  Two players who figured to be starters, Don Ringstaff and sophomore sensation Roger Schurig, did not play. Ringstaff left Vanderbilt after one varsity season, while Schurig took the season off to concentrate on improving his academic record.  Bill Johnson was expected to regain his sophomore form when he led the team in scoring, but a knee injury greatly reduced his effectiveness and kept him on the bench for all but a few minutes per game.
 
With the graduation of Bill Depp and Larry Banks, it left Ron Griffiths as the only seasoned front court player.  As a result, the 1962 team needed this game to break even at 12-12, and finish the conference slate at 6-8. No Vanderbilt team had finished with a losing record in the prior 13 seasons. The lone bright spot in the season was pinning the sole loss on 24-1 Mississippi State at 100-86.
 
This game was rough from the outset. Georgia Tech played their usual "Whack-hacking" defense, and Vanderbilt matched them blow for blow.  The most action in the first half came from the two referees' whistles. In the opening minute alone, they blew them three times for fouls.
 
Vandy opened the scoring with a 1-0 lead and never trailed the rest of the night. Tech went five minutes without scoring from the field, as Vanderbilt moved comfortably ahead with a hot hand. While the Yellow Jackets began 0 for 8, Vandy went 3 for 4 from the field and 5 for 5 at the foul line.
 
The Tech players began to get sore over what apparently would be their 16th loss of the season, and their play went from physical to dirty. Late in the first half, Commodore forward Bob Scott drove into the lane to shoot a short shot. Georgia Tech's leading scorer Mike Tomasovich decided to stop the drive and virtually horse-collared Scott. As the whistle blew once again, Scott turned around and threw a punch at Tomasovich. Tomasovich responded with a hard right cross to Scott's mouth. By the time the referees could respond and eject the two players, the remaining eight players on the floor were in what looked like a rugby scrum.
Losing Scott was not as big of a factor as losing Tomasovich. Georgia Tech had lost their chief offensive threat. Vanderbilt took a 37-28 lead to the locker and came back in the second half shooting lights out. Vandy quickly moved ahead by 15 points and cruised to an 88-74 win.
 
Vanderbilt's hot hand continued all night, and the Commodores connected on 56.4% of their field goal attempts. With Tech committing 24 fouls, the Gold Men tallied 26 foul shots. Meanwhile, the defense held the Yellow Jackets to 37.8% shooting.
 
As he had done for the last four games, Bland led Vandy in scoring.  Shooting mostly jumpers, Bland went 8-15 from the field and added five charity tosses for 21 points. Griffiths popped in 16, and Russell added 15.
 
March 2, 1963
 
The 1962-63 season could have been called The Adventures of Roger Schurig. The 6-01 sophomore from St. Louis won five games on last second shots plus one other on last second free throws. When he was hot, Vandy could beat anybody. In Coach Skinner's second season anybody included Louisville, Western Kentucky, and Kentucky (in Lexington). With one game to go, the Commodores stood at 8-5 in the league and 15-7 overall. The Commodores reached this final contest riding a four-game winning streak.
 
Georgia Tech had what Coach Hyder called his best squad in his 12-year tenure. The Yellow Jackets, ranked in the Top 10 of both major polls, had won 21 of 25 games and sported a conference record of 10-3, good for second place. Tech's strong point, as usual, was an aggressive full-court defense, which held opponents to less than 65 points per game. This was Whack Hyder's most beefy team with four bulky players contributing major minutes. Starting forwards Alan Nass (6-06, 229) and Mike Tomasovich (6-05, 207) joined center Jim Caldwell (6-09, 229) on the front line. Off the bench, part-time starter Ron Scharf (6-06, 205) played both guard and forward. Starting at guard were R.D. Craddock and Keith Weekly.
 
Vanderbilt's starting lineup changed at the end of the season.  With all-SEC guard John Russell injured, sophomore John Ed Miller joined Schurig in the backcourt.  Sophomore Bob "Snake" Grace started at center, while manning the forward spots were Jerry Hall (future father of Commodore fan favorite Dan Hall) and the only 200-pounder on the team Bob Scott.
 
Vanderbilt couldn't have asked for a better start to the game. Coach Skinner's up-tempo offense had improved as the season progressed, and it worked like a charm in the opening minutes of the game. The Commodores hit their first seven field goal attempts to take a 14-6 lead. Georgia Tech began to muscle its way to close-range baskets and quickly fought back into the game.
 
At the mid-point of the first half, the Engineers had cut the lead to four points. For the rest of the night, the game would stay that close. Neither team led by more than four points for the rest of the night. The lead changed hands 11 times, and the score was tied 15 times. The sold out gym cheered loudly and booed even louder when they disagreed with an official's call (they begged to differ over a dozen times in the final 30 minutes). At one point in the second half, the officials had to inform public address announcer Herman Grizzard to warn the crowd about throwing debris on the floor, lest they be forced to assess a technical on the crowd. The crowd accepted this warning as a badge of honor.
 
Georgia Tech gained the lead and extended it to four at 59-55 with eight minutes to go. From that point on, Schurig and Miller took the reins of the Commodore offense and attempted every remaining field goal try. Georgia Tech's Weekly took over the game at his offensive end.
 
Schurig was a streaky shooter.  When he got a hot hand, he could shoot any team out of Memorial Gym.  At the eight-minute mark, that hot hand became a reality. He hit four jumpers and added three foul shots to forge Vandy into the lead and keep it. Miller hit one field goal and added five free throws. A couple of made free throws by Hall in the final 30 seconds gave Vandy the lead for good, and Schurig's last point of the night proved to be the game clincher. A final Tech bucket cut the lead to one as the buzzer sounded. The scoreboard flashed Vanderbilt 75 Georgia Tech 74.  Long-time Nashville basketball fans called this game the city's most exciting game since Kentucky defeated LSU in an SEC Championship playoff in 1954.
 
Vanderbilt connected on 51% of their shots, while Tech was true on 47%. Two factors won this game for the black and gold.  At the charity stripe, Vandy was 19-28 while Tech went only 12-16.  On the boards, Vandy won the battle 40-31.
 
Schurig led Vandy with 21 points, while three teammates joined him in double figures. Miller tossed in 17, Hall hit for 15, and Grace added 13. Grace retrieved 19 missed shots to secure the SEC rebounding title at 13.4 per game.
 
Vandy fans left that night realizing the best was still to come. Freshman star Clyde Lee torched the freshmen Yellow Jackets for 34 points and 28 rebounds in a preliminary game blowout.
 
February 29, 1964
 
This game was not only the season finale for the two teams, it was Georgia Tech's last basketball game as a member of the Southeastern Conference. The 9-4 Yellow Jackets trailed conference leader Kentucky by a game and needed the Wildcats to lose in Knoxville to 8-4 Tennessee plus a win over Vanderbilt to force a two or three-team SEC playoff.
 
Vanderbilt came into this prime-time televised game with a record of 18-6, 7-6 in the SEC.  The Commodores won their first 10 games and were ranked as high as number five in the polls before dropping back into the second 10. The SEC proved to be quite rough, and the Commodores' sophomore laden lineup was not ready for the consistent intensity.  Consecutive losses to Georgia Tech (an overtime heartbreaker), Tennessee, and Kentucky eliminated them from the conference race. An unexpected loss at Georgia ruined the Commodores' chance of recording 20 wins.  Any possibility of playing spoiler disappeared earlier in the day when Kentucky pulled off the mild upset in Knoxville to clinch the crown.
 
Vanderbilt's lineup consisted of guards Roger Schurig and John Ed Miller, forwards Wayne Taylor and Snake Grace, and center Clyde Lee. Sixth man Keith Thomas had already made himself known as an up and coming star with several excellent scoring spurts off the bench.
 
Georgia Tech started one tall and four short players in 1964.  6-10 center Jim Caldwell joined beefy 6-04 forward Ron Scharf, 6-03 forward Charlie Spooner, and guards R.D. Craddock (5-11) and Bill Eidson (6-01). Caldwell led the Techsters with a 14-point average with Craddock close behind.
 
Vanderbilt began the game running and gunning much like Loyola Marymount would play a quarter century later under Paul Westhead. The Commodores shot out to a quick 16-5 lead in the first five minutes. The up-tempo offense began to commit a bevy of turnovers at that frenetic pace, losing possession of the ball 15 times in the opening 20 minutes. With Caldwell, Eidson, and Craddock finding their range, the Jackets sliced away at the lead and cut it to a bucket at 39-37 after 19 minutes of play. The Commodores took the momentum into the locker with six quick points coming on made foul shots by Lee and Schurig and a basket by Miller to make it 45-39 at the half.
 
The second half started with a three-point play (basket + free throw) to make it a nine-point game. Vandy kept a comfortable lead for 15 minutes when Tech cut it to 81-75. At that point, super sub Thomas took over. He scored 10 points in the next three minutes putting the game out of reach. Coach Skinner inserted his scrubs to finish out the game, and it was fitting that the team's lone senior, Bob Hines, would hit the shot that pushed Vandy over the century mark for the sixth time of the year.  The Commodores won 103-89, sending a sold out Memorial Gym home happy and excited.
 
Lee led all scorers with 25 points on 9-14 shooting from the field and 7-10 at the foul line. Miller followed with 19. Other Commodores in double figures were Taylor and Schurig with 13 points each, Thomas with 12, and Grace with 11. Lee pulled down 19 rebounds and Grace added 14, while Taylor narrowly missed a double-double with nine boards. Vandy hit 51.3% on 40-78 shooting. They went 23-31 at the line. Most importantly, the Commodores continued to play racehorse-style in the second half and committed just five more turnovers, while scoring 58 points in the final 20 minutes.
 
Eidson and Craddock both scored 20 for Georgia Tech, while Caldwell was held to 13. The team hit 34 of 80 field goals for 42.5% and 21 of 26 free throws for 80.8%. They were crushed on the boards and lost the game because Vandy out-rebounded them 60 to 37.
 
January 3, 2006
 
Late Tuesday afternoon, Vanderbilt takes on Georgia Tech for just the second time since the Yellow Jackets departed the SEC. Tech wrecked Vandy 86-77 in 1994 at the Kuppenheimer Classic in Atlanta.
 
How do the computer ratings see this game? A weighted average of 11 different ratings for this game reveals a split decision. Tech is favored in six of the 11 ratings, but Vanderbilt is a one-point pick when they are averaged in a weighted manner (with the more accurate ratings to this point getting more weight).  Based on what I think a one-point win would look like, my prediction for the game is: Vanderbilt 68 Georgia Tech 67.
 
Postscript: Vanderbilt would have closed the season against Georgia Tech for seven consecutive years if it wasn't for a rescheduled game against Baylor in 1959. The Commodores were supposed to play the Bears in December, but a snowstorm kept them from making the trip to Nashville. The game was re-scheduled for March. Acting head coach Roy Skinner arranged with Baylor to play this game with a shot clock, the first such collegiate game of its kind. Vandy won 61-60.
 
Notes: Some information for this story came from the Nashville Banner, Nashville Tennessean, and Atlanta Constitution.

VandyMania.com Top Stories

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Besides the revenge factor, it was also \r\nPolk's 45th birthday. Just a year and a half earlier, Polk didn't know whether \r\nhe would live to see this special day. While on a recruiting trip in 1958, he \r\nsuffered a heart attack at the age of 43. He would vacate his position just a \r\nyear after this 1960 season at the age of 46 after doctors persuaded him to give \r\nup one of the most stressful professions. After two years out of coaching and \r\nworking for Vanderbilt Hospital, Polk would be given a clean bill \r\nof health.  He would return to the \r\ncoaching profession and enjoy a long career coaching at Trinity, St. Louis, and \r\nRice.
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Georgia Tech coach John \"Whack\" Hyder \r\nwas a proponent of tough, physical defense and a power offense game. The Detroit \r\nPistons during Chuck Daly's coaching reign played the same style. Quite often \r\nthe Techsters fouled to stop an open basket, but they did so with the intent of \r\nsending a message to the opponents not to try that again.  Leading the way for Tech was first team \r\nall-Conference and all-American Roger Kaiser. Kaiser entered this game with a \r\n22.8 scoring average; his shooting percentage was close to 50% (in 1960, 37.5% \r\nwas about average). As a team, Tech shot better than 41% while holding opponents \r\nunder 35%. Joining Kaiser at guard was underrated Bobby Dews, a defensive \r\nspecialist. Powerful Dave Denton started at one forward, where he averaged 16 \r\npoints per game; he played much like Bill Laimbeer with the Pistons. The other \r\nfront court starters were center Jim Riley and forward Wayne \r\nRichards.
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Coach Polk was in the process of \r\nbuilding a strong team for 1961. The 1960 team had good talent, but the \r\nCommodores had played inconsistently for most of the season. Next year promised \r\nto be better, as assistant coach Roy Skinner had guided the freshman team to an \r\nunbeaten record with one game to go (unfortunately the Frosh would lose that \r\ngame at Kentucky).
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The Commodores' lone senior was leading \r\nrebounder and starting forward Ben Rowan. Rowan walked across the street to \r\nVandy after graduating from Peabody \r\nDemonstration School (University School today). The bulk of the scoring \r\nfrom this team came at the guard positions where starters Bill Johnson and Bobby \r\nBland were as good as any tandem in the league. Johnson was the bigger offensive \r\nthreat, while Bland was the team quarterback and defensive star. Rounding out \r\nthe starting five were center Bill Depp and forward Jack Pirrie, who replaced \r\nthe smaller Ray Clark to give Vandy a taller lineup.
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From the outset, this game was a \r\ndefensive struggle. Georgia Tech changed defenses nearly every possession. They \r\nplayed a zone press, a half-court trap, a three quarter press, a tight \r\nman-to-man, and a half-court zone. Vanderbilt could not get an open shot in the \r\nopening minutes.
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Vanderbilt's defense was equally \r\nbrilliant. Tech liked to screen high for Kaiser, and then have him cut to the \r\nbasket.  Polk ordered his team to \r\nfollow the screeners to Kaiser, then switch off and play him aggressively. Polk \r\nalso noticed that most of Kaiser's made shots came from the right side of the \r\ngoal. He directed his players to force Kaiser to the left and harass him \r\nrelentlessly whenever he went to the right. The plan worked \r\nperfectly.
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Tech opened the game with a quick \r\nbasket, and then neither team threatened with a field goal for several minutes. \r\nVandy finally got on the scoreboard with three free throws to take a 3-2 lead. \r\nThe Commodores went without a field goal for more than six minutes. Bland \r\nstopped the draught when he broke the Tech press and drove for a \r\nlay-up.
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The lead see-sawed for the duration of \r\nthe half. While Bland was holding Kaiser in check, Dews began picking up the \r\nslack with four field goals in a 12-minute stretch.  A basket in the final 30 seconds put \r\nVandy up 26-24 at the break.
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The lead continued to change hands in \r\nthe first five minutes of the second half. Tech tied the score at 32-all with 15 \r\nminutes to go. Johnson took a pass from Bland and canned a mid-range jumper to \r\nput Vandy up by two. One possession later Pirrie hit a foul shot, and then Rowan \r\nbeat the Tech defense for a lay-in. At 37-32, Vandy would never trail \r\nagain.
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In the closing minutes of the game, the \r\nVanderbilt defense played its best ball of the entire season. Pirrie blocked \r\nnumerous shots, most of them coming when a Yellow Jacket broke loose for an open \r\ndrive to the hoop. Rowan completely shut down Denton, frustrating him every possession. Bland \r\nstuck to Kaiser like glue, forcing the star to take ill-advised and off-balance \r\nshots. Bland and Johnson played keep away in the final minute, and Vandy pulled \r\noff the upset 62-57.
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For the game, Bland led Vandy with 16 \r\npoints, 10 of them coming at the charity stripe. Rowan added 15 with a game high \r\n17 rebounds. Johnson tallied 14, while Depp scored 12 to go with 12 boards. \r\nKaiser led Tech with 16 points, well below his average. He shot a poor 6-16 from \r\nthe field, as Bland forced him to shoot from outside his normal range of \r\ncompetence. Dews and Richards added 13 points apiece, while Denton was held by Rowan \r\nto just five points and five rebounds.
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The Commodores held Tech to 35.1% \r\nshooting and won the battle on the boards 44-33. Coach Polk commented in the \r\npost-game about how Vandy won. \"Our defense won the game. It was our top \r\ndefensive effort of the year. It was a case of smart switching and helping each \r\nother.\"
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March 4, \r\n1961
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The shoe was on the other foot for this \r\nregular season-ender. This time, Vanderbilt was playing for a chance at an NCAA \r\ntournament bid, while Georgia Tech was fighting to finish the year at .500 in \r\nthe league and above .500 overall. After being picked as the pre-season \r\nco-favorite, Georgia Tech swooned in mid-January, falling out of the conference \r\nrace. Tech basically had a one-man offense, led by the now first-team \r\nAll-American Kaiser. Coming into his final collegiate game, Kaiser sported an \r\naverage of 23.5 points per game. No other Techster averaged even eight \r\npoints.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Vandy entered this game with a 9-4 \r\nrecord in the league and 18-4 record overall. They were tied for second with \r\nKentucky. \r\nConference champ Mississippi State had already declined the automatic \r\nNCAA bid as their state government refused to allow them to play against \r\nintegrated teams. The second best team would get the bid. If both Vandy and \r\nKentucky won, they would be forced to head to \r\nKnoxville for a \r\nplayoff game. If the Commodores and Wildcats both lost, then a Florida win over Georgia would force a three-team \r\nplayoff. This game was pressure-packed for the Gold \r\nMen.
\r\n
 
\r\n
There were two major differences in this year's Vanderbilt edition from \r\nthe previous year' s club. First was a wealth of balance and depth. While the \r\n1960 club relied on just six players, this club could go nine deep with \r\nexceptional talent. Four players averaged in double figures for the season, \r\nwhile a fifth did so in SEC play. Vanderbilt's front line was its most powerful \r\nto date. Bill Depp, Don Ringstaff, Larry Banks, and Ron Griffiths gave the \r\nCommodores a forward wall they had never before enjoyed. This quartet was \r\nmuscular and agile. Depp earned first team all-SEC honors and honorable mention \r\nall-American honors with a scoring average of better than 17 per game and a \r\nrebounding average exceeding 13 per contest. Ringstaff garnered third team \r\nall-SEC accolades after averaging better than 11 points for the year. Griffiths had cracked the \r\nstarting lineup late in the season after Ringstaff slumped a bit. He responded \r\nwith a big game against Florida in Gainesville.
\r\n
 
\r\n
The backcourt had seen a major change \r\nwith the pre-season loss of Bill Johnson, who led the 1960 squad in scoring. The \r\noffensive wizard had contracted pneumonia in the pre-season and would be lost \r\nuntil the last few weeks of the season. In his place, Polk inserted sophomore \r\nJohn Russell, who would prove to be the best defensive stopper in Commodore \r\nhistory. Even as a first-year player, Russell shadowed SEC guards every night, \r\nmaking their lives miserable. Offensively, Russell was Vandy's second leading \r\nscorer with an 11.2 average.  Bobby \r\nBland returned to direct the team from his guard spot where he scored about 12 \r\npoints per game; more importantly, the 5-10 \"coach-on-the-floor\" was perhaps the \r\nbest passer ever to wear the black and gold (no assist stats were kept back \r\nthen, but Bland probably averaged about six to eight per game for his three-year \r\ncareer). Bland missed four games during the year after suffering a shoulder \r\ninjury. The 'Dores lost two of those games.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Georgia Tech coach Whack Hyder still \r\nemployed multiple pressure defenses with this edition of Yellow Jackets. In the \r\nfirst few minutes of the game, he utilized both a three quarter court and \r\nhalf-court press.  Georgia Tech took \r\na brief lead at 7-6 and appeared to be ready to give the home team a fierce \r\nbattle. Every time a shot was released, the inside looked like a televised \r\ntag-team wrestling event. Elbows flied and landed on the faces of players on \r\nboth teams. This was a war, and the sold out crowd of 7,324 rocked Memorial Gym. \r\n
\r\n
 
\r\n
Trailing by a point, Vandy broke the \r\nTech press and Bland received the ball on the left elbow. He sank the shot and \r\nput Vandy ahead at 8-7. They would not trail again. The lead quickly jumped to \r\ndouble digits and moved to 15 at 33-18.  Kaiser hit multiple long-range jumpers to \r\ncut the lead to 11 as the first half buzzer sounded. The score was Vanderbilt 39 \r\nGeorgia Tech 28.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Any ideas that the Engineers might have \r\nentertained about catching up were quickly quashed in the second half. Vandy ran \r\nthe fast break to perfection in the opening minutes and quickly increased the \r\nlead to 20 points at 51-31. The game was not in doubt, and it allowed Coach Polk \r\nto remove his starters one at a time for a final ovation. Polk inserted two \r\nseldom used seniors for their final appearance, John Doninger and Warren Fiser. \r\nVandy cruised to a 79-59 win to secure a berth in the NCAA playoff against \r\nKentucky.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Four Commodores finished in double \r\nfigures, led by Depp with 17. Russell tallied 15, Banks added 13, and Ringstaff \r\ncame off the bench to contribute 12.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Kaiser led all scorers with 21 points, \r\nbut he only hit 7 of 20 from the field. His teammates could only muster 13 of \r\n44, thanks to an outstanding defensive effort by the Commodores. The battle of \r\nthe boards went heavily in Vandy's favor. Depp and Banks both pulled down 19 \r\nrebounds. For Banks, who had just set the Vandy record with 26 boards against \r\nGeorgia, he had a three-game total of \r\n61 boards to close out the season.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Little did anyone in attendance know at \r\nthe time, but they witnessed Coach Polk's last win at Vanderbilt. The Commodores \r\nlost to Kentucky in the playoff. After a medical \r\ncheckup in the off-season, Polk was encouraged to retire from coaching to \r\nprevent a probable second heart attack.
\r\n
 
\r\n
March 3, \r\n1962
\r\n
 
\r\n
This game was overshadowed by the events \r\nof that week. John Glenn had just returned from space after orbiting the Earth \r\nto one of the largest ticker tape parades ever.  President John F. Kennedy told the nation \r\nthat the United States would \r\nresume conducting above-the-ground nuclear tests because the Soviet Union wouldn't agree to a test ban.  Nashville \r\nwas experiencing one of the worst floods in its history, with the Cumberland \r\nRiver overtaking parts of downtown Nashville and \r\nclosing the Jefferson Street Bridge; the flooded streets couldn't \r\nrecede because the temperature dropped to the teens, freezing the water in \r\nplace. It eventually forced the construction of the long-planned Percy Priest \r\nDam.
\r\n
 
\r\n
In the basketball world, Wilt \r\nChamberlain had just scored 100 points in a single game.  Earlier in the day before Vandy's game, \r\nWisconsin had upset undefeated and top-ranked \r\nOhio \r\nState.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Nothing but pride was on the line for \r\nthe 1962 final game. Georgia Tech was mired near the basement with a 4-9 SEC \r\nmark and 10-15 overall. Roy Skinner's first year as full-time head coach (he was \r\nacting head coach in 1959) had been a rough one.  Two players who figured to be starters, \r\nDon Ringstaff and sophomore sensation Roger Schurig, did not play. Ringstaff \r\nleft Vanderbilt after one varsity season, while Schurig took the season off to \r\nconcentrate on improving his academic record.  Bill Johnson was expected to regain his \r\nsophomore form when he led the team in scoring, but a knee injury greatly \r\nreduced his effectiveness and kept him on the bench for all but a few minutes \r\nper game.
\r\n
 
\r\n
With the graduation of Bill Depp and \r\nLarry Banks, it left Ron Griffiths as the only seasoned front court player.  As a result, the 1962 team needed this \r\ngame to break even at 12-12, and finish the conference slate at 6-8. No \r\nVanderbilt team had finished with a losing record in the prior 13 seasons. The \r\nlone bright spot in the season was pinning the sole loss on 24-1 Mississippi State at 100-86. \r\n
\r\n
 
\r\n
This game was rough from the outset. \r\nGeorgia Tech played their usual \"Whack-hacking\" defense, and Vanderbilt matched \r\nthem blow for blow.  The most action \r\nin the first half came from the two referees' whistles. In the opening minute \r\nalone, they blew them three times for fouls.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Vandy opened the scoring with a 1-0 lead \r\nand never trailed the rest of the night. Tech went five minutes without scoring \r\nfrom the field, as Vanderbilt moved comfortably ahead with a hot hand. While the \r\nYellow Jackets began 0 for 8, Vandy went 3 for 4 from the field and 5 for 5 at \r\nthe foul line.
\r\n
 
\r\n
The Tech players began to get sore over \r\nwhat apparently would be their 16th loss of the season, and their play went from \r\nphysical to dirty. Late in the first half, Commodore forward Bob Scott drove \r\ninto the lane to shoot a short shot. Georgia Tech's leading scorer Mike \r\nTomasovich decided to stop the drive and virtually horse-collared Scott. As the \r\nwhistle blew once again, Scott turned around and threw a punch at Tomasovich. \r\nTomasovich responded with a hard right cross to Scott's mouth. By the time the \r\nreferees could respond and eject the two players, the remaining eight players on \r\nthe floor were in what looked like a rugby scrum.
\r\n
Losing Scott was not as big of a factor \r\nas losing Tomasovich. Georgia Tech had lost their chief offensive threat. \r\nVanderbilt took a 37-28 lead to the locker and came back in the second half \r\nshooting lights out. Vandy quickly moved ahead by 15 points and cruised to an \r\n88-74 win.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Vanderbilt's hot hand continued all \r\nnight, and the Commodores connected on 56.4% of their field goal attempts. With \r\nTech committing 24 fouls, the Gold Men tallied 26 foul shots. Meanwhile, the \r\ndefense held the Yellow Jackets to 37.8% \r\nshooting.
\r\n
 
\r\n
As he had done for the last four games, \r\nBland led Vandy in scoring.  Shooting mostly jumpers, Bland went 8-15 \r\nfrom the field and added five charity tosses for 21 points. Griffiths popped in 16, \r\nand Russell added 15.
\r\n
\r\n
 
\r\n
March 2, \r\n1963
\r\n
 
\r\n
The 1962-63 season could have been \r\ncalled The Adventures of Roger Schurig. The 6-01 sophomore from St. Louis won five games \r\non last second shots plus one other on last second free throws. When he was hot, \r\nVandy could beat anybody. In Coach Skinner's second season anybody included \r\nLouisville, Western Kentucky, and Kentucky (in Lexington). With one game to go, the Commodores \r\nstood at 8-5 in the league and 15-7 overall. The Commodores reached this final \r\ncontest riding a four-game winning streak.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Georgia Tech had what Coach Hyder called \r\nhis best squad in his 12-year tenure. The Yellow Jackets, ranked in the Top 10 \r\nof both major polls, had won 21 of 25 games and sported a conference record of \r\n10-3, good for second place. Tech's strong point, as usual, was an aggressive \r\nfull-court defense, which held opponents to less than 65 points per game. This \r\nwas Whack Hyder's most beefy team with four bulky players contributing major \r\nminutes. Starting forwards Alan Nass (6-06, 229) and Mike Tomasovich (6-05, 207) \r\njoined center Jim Caldwell (6-09, 229) on the front line. Off the bench, \r\npart-time starter Ron Scharf (6-06, 205) played both guard and forward. Starting \r\nat guard were R.D. Craddock and Keith Weekly.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Vanderbilt's starting lineup changed at \r\nthe end of the season.  With all-SEC \r\nguard John Russell injured, sophomore John Ed Miller joined Schurig in the \r\nbackcourt.  Sophomore Bob \"Snake\" \r\nGrace started at center, while manning the forward spots were Jerry Hall (future \r\nfather of Commodore fan favorite Dan Hall) and the only 200-pounder on the team \r\nBob Scott.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Vanderbilt couldn't have asked for a \r\nbetter start to the game. Coach Skinner's up-tempo offense had improved as the \r\nseason progressed, and it worked like a charm in the opening minutes of the \r\ngame. The Commodores hit their first seven field goal attempts to take a 14-6 \r\nlead. Georgia Tech began to muscle its way to close-range baskets and quickly \r\nfought back into the game.
\r\n
 
\r\n
At the mid-point of the first half, the \r\nEngineers had cut the lead to four points. For the rest of the night, the game \r\nwould stay that close. Neither team led by more than four points for the rest of \r\nthe night. The lead changed hands 11 times, and the score was tied 15 times. The \r\nsold out gym cheered loudly and booed even louder when they disagreed with an \r\nofficial's call (they begged to differ over a dozen times in the final 30 \r\nminutes). At one point in the second half, the officials had to inform public \r\naddress announcer Herman Grizzard to warn the crowd about throwing debris on the \r\nfloor, lest they be forced to assess a technical on the crowd. The crowd \r\naccepted this warning as a badge of honor.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Georgia Tech gained the lead and \r\nextended it to four at 59-55 with eight minutes to go. From that point on, \r\nSchurig and Miller took the reins of the Commodore offense and attempted every \r\nremaining field goal try. Georgia Tech's Weekly took over the game at his \r\noffensive end.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Schurig was a streaky shooter.  When he got a hot hand, he could shoot \r\nany team out of Memorial Gym.  At \r\nthe eight-minute mark, that hot hand became a reality. He hit four jumpers and \r\nadded three foul shots to forge Vandy into the lead and keep it. Miller hit one \r\nfield goal and added five free throws. A couple of made free throws by Hall in \r\nthe final 30 seconds gave Vandy the lead for good, and Schurig's last point of \r\nthe night proved to be the game clincher. A final Tech bucket cut the lead to \r\none as the buzzer sounded. The scoreboard flashed Vanderbilt 75 Georgia Tech 74. \r\n Long-time Nashville basketball fans called this game the city's most \r\nexciting game since Kentucky defeated LSU in an SEC Championship \r\nplayoff in 1954.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Vanderbilt connected on 51% of their \r\nshots, while Tech was true on 47%. Two factors won this game for the black and \r\ngold.  At the charity stripe, Vandy \r\nwas 19-28 while Tech went only 12-16.  \r\nOn the boards, Vandy won the battle 40-31. \r\n
\r\n
 
\r\n
Schurig led Vandy with 21 points, while \r\nthree teammates joined him in double figures. Miller tossed in 17, Hall hit for \r\n15, and Grace added 13. Grace retrieved 19 missed shots to secure the SEC \r\nrebounding title at 13.4 per game.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Vandy fans left that night realizing the \r\nbest was still to come. Freshman star Clyde Lee torched the freshmen Yellow \r\nJackets for 34 points and 28 rebounds in a preliminary game blowout. \r\n
\r\n
\r\n
 
\r\n
February 29, \r\n1964
\r\n
 
\r\n
This game was not only the season finale \r\nfor the two teams, it was Georgia Tech's last basketball game as a member of the \r\nSoutheastern Conference. The 9-4 Yellow Jackets trailed conference leader \r\nKentucky by a game and needed the Wildcats to \r\nlose in Knoxville to 8-4 Tennessee plus a win over \r\nVanderbilt to force a two or three-team SEC \r\nplayoff.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Vanderbilt came into this prime-time \r\ntelevised game with a record of 18-6, 7-6 in the SEC.  The Commodores won their first 10 games \r\nand were ranked as high as number five in the polls before dropping back into \r\nthe second 10. The SEC proved to be quite rough, and the Commodores' sophomore \r\nladen lineup was not ready for the consistent intensity.  Consecutive losses to Georgia Tech (an \r\novertime heartbreaker), Tennessee, and \r\nKentucky \r\neliminated them from the conference race. An unexpected loss at Georgia \r\nruined the Commodores' chance of recording 20 wins.  Any possibility of playing spoiler \r\ndisappeared earlier in the day when Kentucky \r\npulled off the mild upset in Knoxville to clinch the \r\ncrown.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Vanderbilt's lineup consisted of guards \r\nRoger Schurig and John Ed Miller, forwards Wayne Taylor and Snake Grace, and \r\ncenter Clyde Lee. Sixth man Keith Thomas had already made himself known as an up \r\nand coming star with several excellent scoring spurts off the bench.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Georgia Tech started one tall and four \r\nshort players in 1964.  6-10 center \r\nJim Caldwell joined beefy 6-04 forward Ron Scharf, 6-03 forward Charlie Spooner, \r\nand guards R.D. Craddock (5-11) and Bill Eidson (6-01). Caldwell led the Techsters \r\nwith a 14-point average with Craddock close \r\nbehind.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Vanderbilt began the game running and \r\ngunning much like Loyola Marymount would play a quarter century later under Paul \r\nWesthead. The Commodores shot out to a quick 16-5 lead in the first five \r\nminutes. The up-tempo offense began to commit a bevy of turnovers at that \r\nfrenetic pace, losing possession of the ball 15 times in the opening 20 minutes. \r\nWith Caldwell, Eidson, and Craddock finding their range, the Jackets sliced away \r\nat the lead and cut it to a bucket at 39-37 after 19 minutes of play. The \r\nCommodores took the momentum into the locker with six quick points coming on \r\nmade foul shots by Lee and Schurig and a basket by Miller to make it 45-39 at \r\nthe half.
\r\n
 
\r\n
The second half started with a \r\nthree-point play (basket + free throw) to make it a nine-point game. Vandy kept \r\na comfortable lead for 15 minutes when Tech cut it to 81-75. At that point, \r\nsuper sub Thomas took over. He scored 10 points in the next three minutes \r\nputting the game out of reach. Coach Skinner inserted his scrubs to finish out \r\nthe game, and it was fitting that the team's lone senior, Bob Hines, would hit \r\nthe shot that pushed Vandy over the century mark for the sixth time of the \r\nyear.  The Commodores won 103-89, \r\nsending a sold out Memorial Gym home happy and \r\nexcited.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Lee led all scorers with 25 points on \r\n9-14 shooting from the field and 7-10 at the foul line. Miller followed with 19. \r\nOther Commodores in double figures were Taylor and Schurig with 13 points each, Thomas \r\nwith 12, and Grace with 11. Lee pulled down 19 rebounds and Grace added 14, \r\nwhile Taylor \r\nnarrowly missed a double-double with nine boards. Vandy hit 51.3% on 40-78 \r\nshooting. They went 23-31 at the line. Most importantly, the Commodores \r\ncontinued to play racehorse-style in the second half and committed just five \r\nmore turnovers, while scoring 58 points in the final 20 minutes.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Eidson and Craddock both scored 20 for \r\nGeorgia Tech, while Caldwell was held to 13. The team hit 34 of 80 \r\nfield goals for 42.5% and 21 of 26 free throws for 80.8%. They were crushed on \r\nthe boards and lost the game because Vandy out-rebounded them 60 to \r\n37.
\r\n
 
\r\n
January 3, \r\n2006
\r\n
 
\r\n
Late Tuesday afternoon, Vanderbilt takes \r\non Georgia Tech for just the second time since the Yellow Jackets departed the \r\nSEC. Tech wrecked Vandy 86-77 in 1994 at the Kuppenheimer Classic in Atlanta.
\r\n
 
\r\n
How do the computer ratings see this \r\ngame? A weighted average of 11 different ratings for this game reveals a split \r\ndecision. Tech is favored in six of the 11 ratings, but Vanderbilt is a \r\none-point pick when they are averaged in a weighted manner (with the more \r\naccurate ratings to this point getting more weight).  Based on what I think a one-point win \r\nwould look like, my prediction for the game is: Vanderbilt 68 Georgia Tech \r\n67.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Postscript: Vanderbilt would have closed \r\nthe season against Georgia Tech for seven consecutive years if it wasn't for a \r\nrescheduled game against Baylor in 1959. The Commodores were supposed to play \r\nthe Bears in December, but a snowstorm kept them from making the trip to \r\nNashville. The \r\ngame was re-scheduled for March. Acting head coach Roy Skinner arranged with \r\nBaylor to play this game with a shot clock, the first such collegiate game of \r\nits kind. Vandy won 61-60.
\r\n
 
\r\n
Notes: Some information for this story \r\ncame from the Nashville Banner, Nashville Tennessean, and Atlanta Constitution.
","mobileBody":"
Vanderbilt vs. \r\nGeorgia Tech
5 Season Ending \r\nGames
 
This annual season-ending game was quite \r\na fierce rivalry, and the players on both squads played like a million dollars \r\nwere on the line every time. More than once, it looked like a hockey game had \r\nbroken out at Memorial Gym. Let's take a look at the last five of these \r\nseason-ending games in the series when the Techsters were members of the \r\nSEC.
 
February 27, \r\n1960
 
For Georgia Tech, this was a very \r\nimportant game. The sixth-ranked Yellow Jackets came to Nashville sporting a conference record of 11-2, tied with \r\nAuburn for first \r\nplace. Auburn played a weak Alabama team that night, \r\nso Tech needed this game to tie for the Conference Championship. Kentucky was just one \r\ngame back at 10-3, so if the Jackets lost to Vandy, they would more than likely \r\nfinish tied for second.
 
Making this game a little less tense was \r\nthe fact that Auburn was on probation in 1960 (something that school had become \r\nquite accustom to experiencing in both football and basketball) and Tech had \r\nalready defeated Kentucky twice. Regardless of the outcome of the game with \r\nVandy, the Engineers from Atlanta had already clinched a berth in the \r\nNCAA tournament.
 
Vanderbilt came into this game sporting \r\na 6-7 record in the league and 13-9 mark overall. A win would guarantee the \r\nCommodores a first division finish.
 
For Coach Bob Polk, it meant more than \r\nthe average game. He came from Georgia Tech, where he was the assistant, to \r\nreplace Ted Hornback after Hornback left Vanderbilt just a couple of months into \r\nhis tenure. The Yellow Jackets had won four of the last five games in this \r\nseries, including the season ender in 1958 and the second to last game of 1959 \r\n(more about why 1959 was not the season ender follows this story). Earlier in \r\nthe season, Tech edged Vandy in overtime in Atlanta.
 
Besides the revenge factor, it was also \r\nPolk's 45th birthday. Just a year and a half earlier, Polk didn't know whether \r\nhe would live to see this special day. While on a recruiting trip in 1958, he \r\nsuffered a heart attack at the age of 43. He would vacate his position just a \r\nyear after this 1960 season at the age of 46 after doctors persuaded him to give \r\nup one of the most stressful professions. After two years out of coaching and \r\nworking for Vanderbilt Hospital, Polk would be given a clean bill \r\nof health.  He would return to the \r\ncoaching profession and enjoy a long career coaching at Trinity, St. Louis, and \r\nRice.
 
Georgia Tech coach John \"Whack\" Hyder \r\nwas a proponent of tough, physical defense and a power offense game. The Detroit \r\nPistons during Chuck Daly's coaching reign played the same style. Quite often \r\nthe Techsters fouled to stop an open basket, but they did so with the intent of \r\nsending a message to the opponents not to try that again.  Leading the way for Tech was first team \r\nall-Conference and all-American Roger Kaiser. Kaiser entered this game with a \r\n22.8 scoring average; his shooting percentage was close to 50% (in 1960, 37.5% \r\nwas about average). As a team, Tech shot better than 41% while holding opponents \r\nunder 35%. Joining Kaiser at guard was underrated Bobby Dews, a defensive \r\nspecialist. Powerful Dave Denton started at one forward, where he averaged 16 \r\npoints per game; he played much like Bill Laimbeer with the Pistons. The other \r\nfront court starters were center Jim Riley and forward Wayne \r\nRichards.
 
Coach Polk was in the process of \r\nbuilding a strong team for 1961. The 1960 team had good talent, but the \r\nCommodores had played inconsistently for most of the season. Next year promised \r\nto be better, as assistant coach Roy Skinner had guided the freshman team to an \r\nunbeaten record with one game to go (unfortunately the Frosh would lose that \r\ngame at Kentucky).
 
The Commodores' lone senior was leading \r\nrebounder and starting forward Ben Rowan. Rowan walked across the street to \r\nVandy after graduating from Peabody \r\nDemonstration School (University School today). The bulk of the scoring \r\nfrom this team came at the guard positions where starters Bill Johnson and Bobby \r\nBland were as good as any tandem in the league. Johnson was the bigger offensive \r\nthreat, while Bland was the team quarterback and defensive star. Rounding out \r\nthe starting five were center Bill Depp and forward Jack Pirrie, who replaced \r\nthe smaller Ray Clark to give Vandy a taller lineup.
 
From the outset, this game was a \r\ndefensive struggle. Georgia Tech changed defenses nearly every possession. They \r\nplayed a zone press, a half-court trap, a three quarter press, a tight \r\nman-to-man, and a half-court zone. Vanderbilt could not get an open shot in the \r\nopening minutes.
 
Vanderbilt's defense was equally \r\nbrilliant. Tech liked to screen high for Kaiser, and then have him cut to the \r\nbasket.  Polk ordered his team to \r\nfollow the screeners to Kaiser, then switch off and play him aggressively. Polk \r\nalso noticed that most of Kaiser's made shots came from the right side of the \r\ngoal. He directed his players to force Kaiser to the left and harass him \r\nrelentlessly whenever he went to the right. The plan worked \r\nperfectly.
 
Tech opened the game with a quick \r\nbasket, and then neither team threatened with a field goal for several minutes. \r\nVandy finally got on the scoreboard with three free throws to take a 3-2 lead. \r\nThe Commodores went without a field goal for more than six minutes. Bland \r\nstopped the draught when he broke the Tech press and drove for a \r\nlay-up.
 
The lead see-sawed for the duration of \r\nthe half. While Bland was holding Kaiser in check, Dews began picking up the \r\nslack with four field goals in a 12-minute stretch.  A basket in the final 30 seconds put \r\nVandy up 26-24 at the break.
 
The lead continued to change hands in \r\nthe first five minutes of the second half. Tech tied the score at 32-all with 15 \r\nminutes to go. Johnson took a pass from Bland and canned a mid-range jumper to \r\nput Vandy up by two. One possession later Pirrie hit a foul shot, and then Rowan \r\nbeat the Tech defense for a lay-in. At 37-32, Vandy would never trail \r\nagain.
 
In the closing minutes of the game, the \r\nVanderbilt defense played its best ball of the entire season. Pirrie blocked \r\nnumerous shots, most of them coming when a Yellow Jacket broke loose for an open \r\ndrive to the hoop. Rowan completely shut down Denton, frustrating him every possession. Bland \r\nstuck to Kaiser like glue, forcing the star to take ill-advised and off-balance \r\nshots. Bland and Johnson played keep away in the final minute, and Vandy pulled \r\noff the upset 62-57.
 
For the game, Bland led Vandy with 16 \r\npoints, 10 of them coming at the charity stripe. Rowan added 15 with a game high \r\n17 rebounds. Johnson tallied 14, while Depp scored 12 to go with 12 boards. \r\nKaiser led Tech with 16 points, well below his average. He shot a poor 6-16 from \r\nthe field, as Bland forced him to shoot from outside his normal range of \r\ncompetence. Dews and Richards added 13 points apiece, while Denton was held by Rowan \r\nto just five points and five rebounds.
 
The Commodores held Tech to 35.1% \r\nshooting and won the battle on the boards 44-33. Coach Polk commented in the \r\npost-game about how Vandy won. \"Our defense won the game. It was our top \r\ndefensive effort of the year. It was a case of smart switching and helping each \r\nother.\"
 
March 4, \r\n1961
 
The shoe was on the other foot for this \r\nregular season-ender. This time, Vanderbilt was playing for a chance at an NCAA \r\ntournament bid, while Georgia Tech was fighting to finish the year at .500 in \r\nthe league and above .500 overall. After being picked as the pre-season \r\nco-favorite, Georgia Tech swooned in mid-January, falling out of the conference \r\nrace. Tech basically had a one-man offense, led by the now first-team \r\nAll-American Kaiser. Coming into his final collegiate game, Kaiser sported an \r\naverage of 23.5 points per game. No other Techster averaged even eight \r\npoints.
 
Vandy entered this game with a 9-4 \r\nrecord in the league and 18-4 record overall. They were tied for second with \r\nKentucky. \r\nConference champ Mississippi State had already declined the automatic \r\nNCAA bid as their state government refused to allow them to play against \r\nintegrated teams. The second best team would get the bid. If both Vandy and \r\nKentucky won, they would be forced to head to \r\nKnoxville for a \r\nplayoff game. If the Commodores and Wildcats both lost, then a Florida win over Georgia would force a three-team \r\nplayoff. This game was pressure-packed for the Gold \r\nMen.
 
There were two major differences in this year's Vanderbilt edition from \r\nthe previous year' s club. First was a wealth of balance and depth. While the \r\n1960 club relied on just six players, this club could go nine deep with \r\nexceptional talent. Four players averaged in double figures for the season, \r\nwhile a fifth did so in SEC play. Vanderbilt's front line was its most powerful \r\nto date. Bill Depp, Don Ringstaff, Larry Banks, and Ron Griffiths gave the \r\nCommodores a forward wall they had never before enjoyed. This quartet was \r\nmuscular and agile. Depp earned first team all-SEC honors and honorable mention \r\nall-American honors with a scoring average of better than 17 per game and a \r\nrebounding average exceeding 13 per contest. Ringstaff garnered third team \r\nall-SEC accolades after averaging better than 11 points for the year. Griffiths had cracked the \r\nstarting lineup late in the season after Ringstaff slumped a bit. He responded \r\nwith a big game against Florida in Gainesville.
 
The backcourt had seen a major change \r\nwith the pre-season loss of Bill Johnson, who led the 1960 squad in scoring. The \r\noffensive wizard had contracted pneumonia in the pre-season and would be lost \r\nuntil the last few weeks of the season. In his place, Polk inserted sophomore \r\nJohn Russell, who would prove to be the best defensive stopper in Commodore \r\nhistory. Even as a first-year player, Russell shadowed SEC guards every night, \r\nmaking their lives miserable. Offensively, Russell was Vandy's second leading \r\nscorer with an 11.2 average.  Bobby \r\nBland returned to direct the team from his guard spot where he scored about 12 \r\npoints per game; more importantly, the 5-10 \"coach-on-the-floor\" was perhaps the \r\nbest passer ever to wear the black and gold (no assist stats were kept back \r\nthen, but Bland probably averaged about six to eight per game for his three-year \r\ncareer). Bland missed four games during the year after suffering a shoulder \r\ninjury. The 'Dores lost two of those games.
 
Georgia Tech coach Whack Hyder still \r\nemployed multiple pressure defenses with this edition of Yellow Jackets. In the \r\nfirst few minutes of the game, he utilized both a three quarter court and \r\nhalf-court press.  Georgia Tech took \r\na brief lead at 7-6 and appeared to be ready to give the home team a fierce \r\nbattle. Every time a shot was released, the inside looked like a televised \r\ntag-team wrestling event. Elbows flied and landed on the faces of players on \r\nboth teams. This was a war, and the sold out crowd of 7,324 rocked Memorial Gym. \r\n
 
Trailing by a point, Vandy broke the \r\nTech press and Bland received the ball on the left elbow. He sank the shot and \r\nput Vandy ahead at 8-7. They would not trail again. The lead quickly jumped to \r\ndouble digits and moved to 15 at 33-18.  Kaiser hit multiple long-range jumpers to \r\ncut the lead to 11 as the first half buzzer sounded. The score was Vanderbilt 39 \r\nGeorgia Tech 28.
 
Any ideas that the Engineers might have \r\nentertained about catching up were quickly quashed in the second half. Vandy ran \r\nthe fast break to perfection in the opening minutes and quickly increased the \r\nlead to 20 points at 51-31. The game was not in doubt, and it allowed Coach Polk \r\nto remove his starters one at a time for a final ovation. Polk inserted two \r\nseldom used seniors for their final appearance, John Doninger and Warren Fiser. \r\nVandy cruised to a 79-59 win to secure a berth in the NCAA playoff against \r\nKentucky.
 
Four Commodores finished in double \r\nfigures, led by Depp with 17. Russell tallied 15, Banks added 13, and Ringstaff \r\ncame off the bench to contribute 12.
 
Kaiser led all scorers with 21 points, \r\nbut he only hit 7 of 20 from the field. His teammates could only muster 13 of \r\n44, thanks to an outstanding defensive effort by the Commodores. The battle of \r\nthe boards went heavily in Vandy's favor. Depp and Banks both pulled down 19 \r\nrebounds. For Banks, who had just set the Vandy record with 26 boards against \r\nGeorgia, he had a three-game total of \r\n61 boards to close out the season.
 
Little did anyone in attendance know at \r\nthe time, but they witnessed Coach Polk's last win at Vanderbilt. The Commodores \r\nlost to Kentucky in the playoff. After a medical \r\ncheckup in the off-season, Polk was encouraged to retire from coaching to \r\nprevent a probable second heart attack.
 
March 3, \r\n1962
 
This game was overshadowed by the events \r\nof that week. John Glenn had just returned from space after orbiting the Earth \r\nto one of the largest ticker tape parades ever.  President John F. Kennedy told the nation \r\nthat the United States would \r\nresume conducting above-the-ground nuclear tests because the Soviet Union wouldn't agree to a test ban.  Nashville \r\nwas experiencing one of the worst floods in its history, with the Cumberland \r\nRiver overtaking parts of downtown Nashville and \r\nclosing the Jefferson Street Bridge; the flooded streets couldn't \r\nrecede because the temperature dropped to the teens, freezing the water in \r\nplace. It eventually forced the construction of the long-planned Percy Priest \r\nDam.
 
In the basketball world, Wilt \r\nChamberlain had just scored 100 points in a single game.  Earlier in the day before Vandy's game, \r\nWisconsin had upset undefeated and top-ranked \r\nOhio \r\nState.
 
Nothing but pride was on the line for \r\nthe 1962 final game. Georgia Tech was mired near the basement with a 4-9 SEC \r\nmark and 10-15 overall. Roy Skinner's first year as full-time head coach (he was \r\nacting head coach in 1959) had been a rough one.  Two players who figured to be starters, \r\nDon Ringstaff and sophomore sensation Roger Schurig, did not play. Ringstaff \r\nleft Vanderbilt after one varsity season, while Schurig took the season off to \r\nconcentrate on improving his academic record.  Bill Johnson was expected to regain his \r\nsophomore form when he led the team in scoring, but a knee injury greatly \r\nreduced his effectiveness and kept him on the bench for all but a few minutes \r\nper game.
 
With the graduation of Bill Depp and \r\nLarry Banks, it left Ron Griffiths as the only seasoned front court player.  As a result, the 1962 team needed this \r\ngame to break even at 12-12, and finish the conference slate at 6-8. No \r\nVanderbilt team had finished with a losing record in the prior 13 seasons. The \r\nlone bright spot in the season was pinning the sole loss on 24-1 Mississippi State at 100-86. \r\n
 
This game was rough from the outset. \r\nGeorgia Tech played their usual \"Whack-hacking\" defense, and Vanderbilt matched \r\nthem blow for blow.  The most action \r\nin the first half came from the two referees' whistles. In the opening minute \r\nalone, they blew them three times for fouls.
 
Vandy opened the scoring with a 1-0 lead \r\nand never trailed the rest of the night. Tech went five minutes without scoring \r\nfrom the field, as Vanderbilt moved comfortably ahead with a hot hand. While the \r\nYellow Jackets began 0 for 8, Vandy went 3 for 4 from the field and 5 for 5 at \r\nthe foul line.
 
The Tech players began to get sore over \r\nwhat apparently would be their 16th loss of the season, and their play went from \r\nphysical to dirty. Late in the first half, Commodore forward Bob Scott drove \r\ninto the lane to shoot a short shot. Georgia Tech's leading scorer Mike \r\nTomasovich decided to stop the drive and virtually horse-collared Scott. As the \r\nwhistle blew once again, Scott turned around and threw a punch at Tomasovich. \r\nTomasovich responded with a hard right cross to Scott's mouth. By the time the \r\nreferees could respond and eject the two players, the remaining eight players on \r\nthe floor were in what looked like a rugby scrum.
Losing Scott was not as big of a factor \r\nas losing Tomasovich. Georgia Tech had lost their chief offensive threat. \r\nVanderbilt took a 37-28 lead to the locker and came back in the second half \r\nshooting lights out. Vandy quickly moved ahead by 15 points and cruised to an \r\n88-74 win.
 
Vanderbilt's hot hand continued all \r\nnight, and the Commodores connected on 56.4% of their field goal attempts. With \r\nTech committing 24 fouls, the Gold Men tallied 26 foul shots. Meanwhile, the \r\ndefense held the Yellow Jackets to 37.8% \r\nshooting.
 
As he had done for the last four games, \r\nBland led Vandy in scoring.  Shooting mostly jumpers, Bland went 8-15 \r\nfrom the field and added five charity tosses for 21 points. Griffiths popped in 16, \r\nand Russell added 15.
 
March 2, \r\n1963
 
The 1962-63 season could have been \r\ncalled The Adventures of Roger Schurig. The 6-01 sophomore from St. Louis won five games \r\non last second shots plus one other on last second free throws. When he was hot, \r\nVandy could beat anybody. In Coach Skinner's second season anybody included \r\nLouisville, Western Kentucky, and Kentucky (in Lexington). With one game to go, the Commodores \r\nstood at 8-5 in the league and 15-7 overall. The Commodores reached this final \r\ncontest riding a four-game winning streak.
 
Georgia Tech had what Coach Hyder called \r\nhis best squad in his 12-year tenure. The Yellow Jackets, ranked in the Top 10 \r\nof both major polls, had won 21 of 25 games and sported a conference record of \r\n10-3, good for second place. Tech's strong point, as usual, was an aggressive \r\nfull-court defense, which held opponents to less than 65 points per game. This \r\nwas Whack Hyder's most beefy team with four bulky players contributing major \r\nminutes. Starting forwards Alan Nass (6-06, 229) and Mike Tomasovich (6-05, 207) \r\njoined center Jim Caldwell (6-09, 229) on the front line. Off the bench, \r\npart-time starter Ron Scharf (6-06, 205) played both guard and forward. Starting \r\nat guard were R.D. Craddock and Keith Weekly.
 
Vanderbilt's starting lineup changed at \r\nthe end of the season.  With all-SEC \r\nguard John Russell injured, sophomore John Ed Miller joined Schurig in the \r\nbackcourt.  Sophomore Bob \"Snake\" \r\nGrace started at center, while manning the forward spots were Jerry Hall (future \r\nfather of Commodore fan favorite Dan Hall) and the only 200-pounder on the team \r\nBob Scott.
 
Vanderbilt couldn't have asked for a \r\nbetter start to the game. Coach Skinner's up-tempo offense had improved as the \r\nseason progressed, and it worked like a charm in the opening minutes of the \r\ngame. The Commodores hit their first seven field goal attempts to take a 14-6 \r\nlead. Georgia Tech began to muscle its way to close-range baskets and quickly \r\nfought back into the game.
 
At the mid-point of the first half, the \r\nEngineers had cut the lead to four points. For the rest of the night, the game \r\nwould stay that close. Neither team led by more than four points for the rest of \r\nthe night. The lead changed hands 11 times, and the score was tied 15 times. The \r\nsold out gym cheered loudly and booed even louder when they disagreed with an \r\nofficial's call (they begged to differ over a dozen times in the final 30 \r\nminutes). At one point in the second half, the officials had to inform public \r\naddress announcer Herman Grizzard to warn the crowd about throwing debris on the \r\nfloor, lest they be forced to assess a technical on the crowd. The crowd \r\naccepted this warning as a badge of honor.
 
Georgia Tech gained the lead and \r\nextended it to four at 59-55 with eight minutes to go. From that point on, \r\nSchurig and Miller took the reins of the Commodore offense and attempted every \r\nremaining field goal try. Georgia Tech's Weekly took over the game at his \r\noffensive end.
 
Schurig was a streaky shooter.  When he got a hot hand, he could shoot \r\nany team out of Memorial Gym.  At \r\nthe eight-minute mark, that hot hand became a reality. He hit four jumpers and \r\nadded three foul shots to forge Vandy into the lead and keep it. Miller hit one \r\nfield goal and added five free throws. A couple of made free throws by Hall in \r\nthe final 30 seconds gave Vandy the lead for good, and Schurig's last point of \r\nthe night proved to be the game clincher. A final Tech bucket cut the lead to \r\none as the buzzer sounded. The scoreboard flashed Vanderbilt 75 Georgia Tech 74. \r\n Long-time Nashville basketball fans called this game the city's most \r\nexciting game since Kentucky defeated LSU in an SEC Championship \r\nplayoff in 1954.
 
Vanderbilt connected on 51% of their \r\nshots, while Tech was true on 47%. Two factors won this game for the black and \r\ngold.  At the charity stripe, Vandy \r\nwas 19-28 while Tech went only 12-16.  \r\nOn the boards, Vandy won the battle 40-31. \r\n
 
Schurig led Vandy with 21 points, while \r\nthree teammates joined him in double figures. Miller tossed in 17, Hall hit for \r\n15, and Grace added 13. Grace retrieved 19 missed shots to secure the SEC \r\nrebounding title at 13.4 per game.
 
Vandy fans left that night realizing the \r\nbest was still to come. Freshman star Clyde Lee torched the freshmen Yellow \r\nJackets for 34 points and 28 rebounds in a preliminary game blowout. \r\n
 
February 29, \r\n1964
 
This game was not only the season finale \r\nfor the two teams, it was Georgia Tech's last basketball game as a member of the \r\nSoutheastern Conference. The 9-4 Yellow Jackets trailed conference leader \r\nKentucky by a game and needed the Wildcats to \r\nlose in Knoxville to 8-4 Tennessee plus a win over \r\nVanderbilt to force a two or three-team SEC \r\nplayoff.
 
Vanderbilt came into this prime-time \r\ntelevised game with a record of 18-6, 7-6 in the SEC.  The Commodores won their first 10 games \r\nand were ranked as high as number five in the polls before dropping back into \r\nthe second 10. The SEC proved to be quite rough, and the Commodores' sophomore \r\nladen lineup was not ready for the consistent intensity.  Consecutive losses to Georgia Tech (an \r\novertime heartbreaker), Tennessee, and \r\nKentucky \r\neliminated them from the conference race. An unexpected loss at Georgia \r\nruined the Commodores' chance of recording 20 wins.  Any possibility of playing spoiler \r\ndisappeared earlier in the day when Kentucky \r\npulled off the mild upset in Knoxville to clinch the \r\ncrown.
 
Vanderbilt's lineup consisted of guards \r\nRoger Schurig and John Ed Miller, forwards Wayne Taylor and Snake Grace, and \r\ncenter Clyde Lee. Sixth man Keith Thomas had already made himself known as an up \r\nand coming star with several excellent scoring spurts off the bench.
 
Georgia Tech started one tall and four \r\nshort players in 1964.  6-10 center \r\nJim Caldwell joined beefy 6-04 forward Ron Scharf, 6-03 forward Charlie Spooner, \r\nand guards R.D. Craddock (5-11) and Bill Eidson (6-01). Caldwell led the Techsters \r\nwith a 14-point average with Craddock close \r\nbehind.
 
Vanderbilt began the game running and \r\ngunning much like Loyola Marymount would play a quarter century later under Paul \r\nWesthead. The Commodores shot out to a quick 16-5 lead in the first five \r\nminutes. The up-tempo offense began to commit a bevy of turnovers at that \r\nfrenetic pace, losing possession of the ball 15 times in the opening 20 minutes. \r\nWith Caldwell, Eidson, and Craddock finding their range, the Jackets sliced away \r\nat the lead and cut it to a bucket at 39-37 after 19 minutes of play. The \r\nCommodores took the momentum into the locker with six quick points coming on \r\nmade foul shots by Lee and Schurig and a basket by Miller to make it 45-39 at \r\nthe half.
 
The second half started with a \r\nthree-point play (basket + free throw) to make it a nine-point game. Vandy kept \r\na comfortable lead for 15 minutes when Tech cut it to 81-75. At that point, \r\nsuper sub Thomas took over. He scored 10 points in the next three minutes \r\nputting the game out of reach. Coach Skinner inserted his scrubs to finish out \r\nthe game, and it was fitting that the team's lone senior, Bob Hines, would hit \r\nthe shot that pushed Vandy over the century mark for the sixth time of the \r\nyear.  The Commodores won 103-89, \r\nsending a sold out Memorial Gym home happy and \r\nexcited.
 
Lee led all scorers with 25 points on \r\n9-14 shooting from the field and 7-10 at the foul line. Miller followed with 19. \r\nOther Commodores in double figures were Taylor and Schurig with 13 points each, Thomas \r\nwith 12, and Grace with 11. Lee pulled down 19 rebounds and Grace added 14, \r\nwhile Taylor \r\nnarrowly missed a double-double with nine boards. Vandy hit 51.3% on 40-78 \r\nshooting. They went 23-31 at the line. Most importantly, the Commodores \r\ncontinued to play racehorse-style in the second half and committed just five \r\nmore turnovers, while scoring 58 points in the final 20 minutes.
 
Eidson and Craddock both scored 20 for \r\nGeorgia Tech, while Caldwell was held to 13. The team hit 34 of 80 \r\nfield goals for 42.5% and 21 of 26 free throws for 80.8%. They were crushed on \r\nthe boards and lost the game because Vandy out-rebounded them 60 to \r\n37.
 
January 3, \r\n2006
 
Late Tuesday afternoon, Vanderbilt takes \r\non Georgia Tech for just the second time since the Yellow Jackets departed the \r\nSEC. Tech wrecked Vandy 86-77 in 1994 at the Kuppenheimer Classic in Atlanta.
 
How do the computer ratings see this \r\ngame? A weighted average of 11 different ratings for this game reveals a split \r\ndecision. Tech is favored in six of the 11 ratings, but Vanderbilt is a \r\none-point pick when they are averaged in a weighted manner (with the more \r\naccurate ratings to this point getting more weight).  Based on what I think a one-point win \r\nwould look like, my prediction for the game is: Vanderbilt 68 Georgia Tech \r\n67.
 
Postscript: Vanderbilt would have closed \r\nthe season against Georgia Tech for seven consecutive years if it wasn't for a \r\nrescheduled game against Baylor in 1959. The Commodores were supposed to play \r\nthe Bears in December, but a snowstorm kept them from making the trip to \r\nNashville. The \r\ngame was re-scheduled for March. Acting head coach Roy Skinner arranged with \r\nBaylor to play this game with a shot clock, the first such collegiate game of \r\nits kind. Vandy won 61-60.
 
Notes: Some information for this story \r\ncame from the Nashville Banner, Nashville Tennessean, and Atlanta Constitution.
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