Vanderbilt Wins SEC Opener

The Vanderbilt Commodores opened Southeastern Conference play with an 80-73 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks. The Commodores were led by freshman center A.J. Ogilvy who had 21 second half points to finish the game with 25. "A.J., he's just a monster," Vanderbilt guard Alex Gordon said of Ogilvy.

The Commodores proved last night they could win a big game even when Shan Foster does not have his best game. Foster was 4-11 from the field, including 2-9 from behind the arch, finishing the game with 13 points. He did set the school record for three-pointers in a career with 297 when he hit a 3-pointer with 17:30 left to go in the first half. The record was previously held by Ronnie McMahan (1992-95). Foster commented on his play after the game: "South Carolina did a great job of covering me and their defensive scheme was great and they executed well, but we have great teammates on this team who step up in times of struggle. Tonight we didn't knock down our shots like we did in the past but stepped up on defense. A.J. played great and we were able to get the win."

The Commodores had nightmares of seasons past early when South Carolina guard Devan Downey had 12 points in the first 9 minutes. Downey, a transfer from Cincinnati, scored 18 for the Bearcats in a win against the Commodores at Memorial Gym two years ago. Vandy did a great job on Downey for the rest of the game, only allowing him to score 10 points in the remaining 21 minutes of the game.

Vanderbilt got a big boost right before halftime when Jermaine Beal hit a three with just five seconds left on the clock to give the Commodores a 35-30 lead heading into the break. During halftime Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings told his players to get the ball inside: "I wrote up on the board at halftime to take care of the ball and get it inside." The Commodores obviously listened to their coach getting Ogilvy twelve second half shots.

The Gamecocks took a 56-55 lead with 10:43 to go in the second half on a three by Zam Fredrick. The Commodores answered on the next possession when Alex Gordon hit a three to put the Commodores ahead for good at 58-56. Gordon's basket was the start of a 9-0 run by the Commodores over the next three minutes of the game.

South Carolina cut the Vanderbilt lead to two with 1:48 to go in the game on a basket made by Downey. Gordon responded once again with a three that was the nail in the Gamecocks' coffin.

South Carolina was led in scoring by Downey who had 22. Fredrick added 21 and Dwayne Day had 14. Ogilvy's 25 led the Commodores but they also got double figures from Foster with 13, Gordon with 13 and Jermaine Beal with 11. Ross Neltner led the Commodores in rebounds with 9.

The Commodores travel to Rupp Arena this Saturday to take on the Kentucky Wildcats at 12:30 p.m. CST (CBS). Top Stories