Vanderbilt rallies past TSU, 83-74

The Commodores improved to 11-0 with an 83-74 win over cross-town rival Tennessee State University on Saturday night. The win at Memorial Gym brings the Commodores one win shy of tying the school record of a 12-0 start by the 2003-2004 team.

The Tigers were fired up to play a Southeastern Conference team from their home city. Coach Kevin Stallings knew they were going to face an inspired TSU team. "We knew we were going to take their best shot," Stallings said. "This was their shot to beat the big boys on the block, and they came in and gave it a great effort." The Commodores were also coming off a hectic week of finals so they had a lot of things going against them.

The Commodores proved once again that they have what it takes to come up big when facing adversity. They trailed by as many as nine in the second half. TSU's coach Cy Alexander looked back on his team's inability to put the Commodores away as the reason for the loss. "I told our team we lost the game when we had them down and didn't bury them," Alexander said. "This was the best game we've played all year, and this was against a top-20 team."

Shan Foster was never worried about the Commodores chances. "As a team we feel like down the stretch, when the games are close, we're the best team in the country," Foster said. "We have a lot of players on this team who can make big plays and are willing to make big plays."

Foster backed up his words by leading the Commodores with 22 points. The Commodores had three other players in double figures including Alex Gordon with 16, A.J. Ogilvy with 14 and Jermaine Beal with 12. Foster also led the team in rebounds with 12.

TSU got outstanding play by Gerald Robinson in the second half. He scored the Tigers first 20 points of the second half, including 13 points in a span of just over two and a half minutes. Bruce Price added 19 for the Tigers.

Vanderbilt rallied from behind with some excellent 3 point shooting by Gordon, Foster and freshman point guard Keegan Bell. The Commodores shot 57.7 percent from the field in the second half.

Vanderbilt rallied from the nine point second half deficit by going on an 18-4 run to build a 5 point lead at 65-60. The lead was short lived, however, as Price scored 5 straight points to tie the game at 65 with just over seven and a half minutes to go.

Vanderbilt answered with 2 straight buckets to take a 69-65 lead with just over seven minutes to go. They would never trail again in the game. The Commodores were able to put the Tigers away by making five of six free throws in the final two minutes of the game.

The Commodores will attempt to improve to 12-0 when they take on Tennessee Martin on December 29th at Memorial Gym. That game tips at noon.

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