Vanderbilt blasts Auburn, 74-50

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – By his own admission, Mario Moore did not "run the show," during Vanderbilt's 74-50 win over Auburn at Memorial Gym on Saturday. He said Shan Foster and his 20 points deserved that phrase. Moore did take credit for "organizing the team," which, when organized, apparently is going to be a difficult foe for Southeastern Conference teams this season.

Vanderbilt ran away from the Tigers on Saturday in the second half, and Moore's steady hand was once again at the controls. For much of this shaky season, Moore himself has been shaky. But a viewing of the 2003-04 highlight DVD and a change of wardrobe apparently snapped Moore out of his mysterious funk.

After playing Moore just 18 minutes in a loss to Georgia Tech, Stallings inserted Moore into the starting lineup and turned him loose for 26 minutes. The result was a season-low six turnovers for Vanderbilt and a 54 percent shooting performance that had Vanderbilt in command for the final 15 minutes of the game.

"Mario played his best game of the year," said Stallings, whose team now stands at 10-2. "He did a great job of organizing us."

Moore said he wanted to see how he used to play, so he broke out the Sweet 16 highlight DVD of his sophomore season. He also talked to Jason Holwerda and Matt Freije this week in an effort to get himself back on track. Thirdly, he wore his oversized T-shirt under his uniform for the first time this season.

What did Moore see on the DVD?

"Passion. Fire. Fun. Screaming," Moore said. "I was just trying to get back in a rhythm."

The perceived Moore-Stallings feud has sparked plenty of talk in 2005-06, but that soap opera may have ended. A meeting before Friday's practice between Gordon, Moore and Stallings seems to have had the desired effect.

"He's back where he needs to be as far as I'm concerned," Stallings said. (story continued below)

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Moore realizes his play is the key to this team's future, which looks brighter with a sharp 1-0 start to conference play.

"My play has caused an inconvenience to Derrick (Byars)," Moore said. "He has had to play out of position at point guard. He's best on the wing. In order for this team to run how it needs to run, Red and I need to be at the point."

In addition to committing just six turnovers, Vanderbilt shot lights out from three, connecting on 12 of 20. Foster was six-for-nine, while Byars and Alex Gordon hit two apiece.

"When you shoot the ball well, your team looks a lot better," Stallings said.

Vanderbilt led 36-32, then took control with an 18-5 run over the next seven minutes. Soon, the Dores pushed the lead to 20 and there was time to relax in Memorial in the final minutes for the first time in a while.

"I get out there, get us in offense and get the ball to those guys and we'll be fine," Moore said. "We have a lot of guys that are going to cause a lot of trouble on a lot of nights."

Foster, Julian Terrell (13 points), Byars (10) and DeMarre Carroll (10) were trouble for the Tigers, who started three freshmen and a sophomore and are now 0-4 on the road.

Next up for Vanderbilt is Kentucky, a big loser to Kansas on Saturday.

"One thing coach talks about is not getting too high after wins and too low after losses," Foster said. "Now that this game is over, it is great that we win, but it is time to get down to business and get ready for Kentucky."


Vanderbilt forward Shan Foster (32) drives around Auburn's Frank Tolbert during the second half of a college basketball game played in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, Jan. 7, 2006. Foster had a game-high 20 points in Vanderbilt's 74-50 win. (AP Photo/Neil Brake)

Bill Trocchi is the Interactive Editor for Athlon Sports


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