Second half surge leads VU past Georgia

The Vanderbilt Commodores improved to 23-4 on Saturday with an 86-74 win over the Georgia Bulldogs at Memorial Gym. The 23rd win ties for the most games won by a Kevin Stallings team in his Vanderbilt tenure. The win also improved the Commodores to 8-4 in Southeastern Conference play.

The Commodores, coming off a week without a game, looked a little rusty in the first half. They were able to mount a 14-4 run midway through the first half that was capped by a jumper by Shan Foster. Senior guard Alex Gordon scored 11 of the 14 points in that run including two free throws after Georgia Coach Dennis Felton was called for a technical foul.

The Bulldogs would end the half on an 8-3 run to take a one point lead into the intermission. Foster had this to say about the one point halftime deficit, "In my opinion it was a direct relation to the way we practiced the last two days it really wasn't up to our capability and that's the way we came out and played. We were lackadaisical in terms of our defensive intensity and effort, and we came in and allowed 38 points in the first half. Coach (Stallings) came in and said it at the end of the game today that, `you can't go out and play medium, you have to play with an edge in this league every single night, every possession in order to have a chance to win."

The second half was a different story. The Commodores came out of the break on fire. They opened the half on a 29-11 run, including three pointers on 3 out of 5 possessions to open the half. The Commodores would make 17 of their first 24 shots in the second half.

Vanderbilt was led in scoring by Foster with 29. Foster was just 3 for 9 from behind the three point line, but was 8 for 9 from inside the arch. Gordon had one of his best games of the season with 23 points, making 7 of his 9 three point attempts. "Shan missed some wide open threes, but was phenomenal on offense, especially in the second half. When (Alex Gordon) shoots like that, it opens things up for A.J. Ogilvy inside. It's good to see both of them get on that sort of roll. In the second half, we didn't stand around on offense and didn't hold the ball. That's what it will take for us to get on a roll offensively, "Coach Stallings said after the game. The Commodores also got double digits from Ogilvy with 14 and Ross Neltner with 11.

The Bulldogs were led in scoring by Sundiata Gaines with 24. They also got 15 from Billy Humphrey.

Vandy avoided what could have been a trap game with the Tennessee Volunteers coming to Memorial Gym on Tuesday night. Foster said that was not ever a worry for the guys on the team, "Not at all. We have four seniors on this team that have been around here and that is where maturity comes in. We try to take things one game at a time and that starts in practice, and carries on into games. We never look past games. We knew (Georgia) was going to come in and they were going to play hard, they were going to play well and we were going to have to be on top of our game in order to have a chance to win." The game against the Vols tips off at 8 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN.


A.J. Ogilvy shoots. (VM/Stan Jones)


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