View from 3F: Seasick Dores gut out a victory

Unbeknownst to most fans, three of Vanderbilt's key players were suffering through a bout with the flu Saturday, yet Vanderbilt was able to pull out a hard-fought win against the Ole Miss Rebels in Memorial. Scott Hundley, Matt Freije and Brian Thornton all had been under the weather the last couple of days-- but all three came up big in the win over the Rebels.

Scott Hundley was so sick, that he needed an IV after the game before he could come out and speak to the media.  You would never have known-- Scott had his second straight fabulous game, posting 18 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocked shots, and 2 assists in 33 minutes of action, despite having drawn the toughest defensive assignment against Mississippi's Justin Reed.  Matt Freije continued his scoring binge, although he left several shots short. He ended up with a team-high 20 points and added 5 rebounds.  Brian Thornton had 16 points and 4 rebounds before fouling out in the last minute.

A happy Coach Stallings addressed the media and laughed as he noted that Hundley was using the garbage can for support at the half.  When he inquired about who was feeling ill, Brian, Scott and Matt had all raised hands.  On a serious note, Coach Stallings said, "This team is tough and toughness builds confidence."  This team looked tough tonight.

Possibly one of the biggest signs that this team is maturing was the stats from the charity stripe.  Vanderbilt shot over 80% from the free throw line for the game and a whopping 89.5% in the second half.  This clearly was the game plan going in, as Vanderbilt continually drove to the hoop or passed it inside to Brain, Matt or Julian Terrell.

Vanderbilt grabbed a lead about 9 minutes into the game with a 9-0 run and never looked back.  Mississippi's defense was solid throughout, but Vanderbilt seemed just a step or two quicker all night.  Quick passes into the blocks and out to open shots kept Ole Miss' defense constantly moving, and the continual rotation of players seemed to wear the Rebels out.  (Corey Smith, still sidelined with a broken wrist, may be back for the South Carolina game next week.)

Vanderbilt dominated nearly every statistic in the game, out-rebounding Ole Miss 32 to 30, and winning points in the paint (34 to 30) and fast break points (10 to 2).  

After back-to-back home wins Vanderbilt, still in search of its first road win, heads back on the road Wednesday to face a tough and angry Mississippi State team.  The Bulldogs lost to Georgia Saturday, 67-63. Top Stories