Vandy Wins Cancun Challenge 71-66 Over VCU

Vandy held on to win a thriller in the championship game of the 2008 Cancun Challenge 71-66. A.J. Ogilvy led the Commodores with 25 points.

Vanderbilt went into halftime with a 36-23 lead, but VCU would not go away easily. They opened the second half on a 24-12 run. The Dores were ultimately able to hold off VCU because of excellent free throw shooting. They ended the game 26 of 30 from the charity stripe.

The Rams started the game fast getting out to a 12-6 lead when Eric Maynor hit one of his two free throws. Vandy would follow that with a 6-0 run of their own that was capped by a three pointer from Jermaine Beal.

After Larry Sanders hit a layup on the next VCU possession the Commodores would go on a 24-9 run to end the half. The Dores appeared to have this game in hand, but the Rams came out of halftime on fire led by Maynor who had 22 points in the second half.

The Commodores were able to hang on to win because of their excellent free throw shooting down the stretch. Vandy also dominated the Rams on the boards with a 31-21 advantage.

In addition to Ogilvy's 25 points the Commodores got double digit points from Beal with 14, Brad Tinsley with 13, and Jeffery Taylor with 10. This is the kind of balanced attack this Commodore team is going to need all season to be successful. They know they are going to get points in the paint from Ogivly, but the question mark is what they are going to get from their perimeter players. If Beal, Tinsley, and Taylor can average double digits it will be a good season.

Maynor led all scorers with 31. The only other VCU player to get double digits was Larry Sanders with 10.

Ogivly was named the MVP of the Cancun Challenge, and Beal was named to the All-Tournament team.

This was a great tournament win for this young team and should help build their confidence as they head into conference play. The win was also impressive when you take into account the fact that they were playing with only eight scholarship players due to the injury to sophomore Andre Walker, the suspension of freshman Steve Tchiengang, the illness of freshman Lance Goulbourne, and the fact that redshirt freshman Festus Ezeli did not make the trip. Tchiengang is eligible to return to the team this week.

Vandy will be back in action at Memorial Gym Wednesday night when Illinois-Chicago comes to town. That game tips off at 7 p.m.


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