Vandy Men Fall to Illinois 69-63

The Vanderbilt men's basketball team suffered their first loss of the season Thursday night when the fell to Illinois 69-63. The Commodores made just 13 of 21 free throws on the night and were unable to convert a couple of layups in the closing minutes.

"We didn't make enough and missed a lot of critical shots straight off the basket. It was tough to move the ball, so I think we did a pretty good job of getting to the basket and getting the easy looks." sophomore center A.J. Ogivly said after the game.

Illinois did not have the same troubles the Commodores did from the line. They made all 11 of the free throws they attempted.

The Dores also struggled on the boards. Illinois won the rebounding battle 37-30, but 21 of those 37 rebounds were on the offensive end of the floor. "They're just trying to figure out how to play basketball. We tried hard, but to hold them to 37 percent and to have them have 21 offensive rebounds, some of those had to go in," Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings said after the game.

For the second straight game Vandy struggle early. Illinois started the game on a 9-4 run that was capped by a Demetri McCamey layup with 14:17 left to go in the first half.

The Commodores would tie the game at 19 when they put together an 8-0 run of their own that was capped when Darshawn McClellan made a free throw.

An Ogilvy jumper with 58 seconds left to go in the first half would give Vanderbilt a 35-31 lead, but they would not be able to hold the lead heading into the intermission after Mike Davis made two free throws with 45 seconds left to play and McCamey hit a three as time expired.

Vandy would take the lead back with a 9-3 run to open the second half. Illinois Coach Bruce Weber would call a timeout after an Ogilvy jumper gave the Dores a 57-52 lead with 9:27 left to go in the game. That is when Illinois made their move. They came out of the timeout on a 13-1 run that gave them a 65-58 lead with 4:37 left to play. They would never trail again in the game.

Weber, who is a good friend of Coach Stallings, had this to say about the game, "It was just a good overall team win. Kevin (Stallings) is a very good coach. He comes out of timeouts and you never know what the heck is going to happen. They ran some quick-hitters. They missed a couple of plays and we just took advantage of it. Trent's (Meachem) three, Chester's (Frazier) three and then four free throws down the stretch was the back breaker. For us, it's a great win. Hopefully it's a confidence builder. I will cheer for Vanderbilt the rest of the year." The Commodores had 4 players in double digits led by Ogilvy with 13. They also got 11 from both Jeffery Taylor and Brad Tinsley and 10 from Andre Walker.

McCamey would lead all scorers with 23 points. Illinois also got double digits from Trent Meachem with 14, Mike Davis with 11 and Mike Tisdale with 10.

It does not get any easier for the Commodores when the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State University travel to Memorial Gym on Monday night. That game tips off at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on CSS.

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