The Commodores weren't so prolific in beating the Tide on Wednesday night -- Vandy won 65-64 -- but that was good enough to run their overall winning streak to seven games.
A big reason for the recent scoring surge is the play of center A.J. Ogilvy, who scored 24 points in Vandy's win over Florida on Jan. 9. Ogilvy made 10-of-12 free throw attempts against the Gators to raise his season scoring average to 13.3 points.
Ogilvy has been hampered by injuries and inconsistent play this season, but the 6-10 junior responded with eight rebounds to key the win over Florida.
Another reason for Vanderbilt's increased scoring load is the play of Andre Walker and Lance Goulbourne. Walker handed out a career-high seven assists in the win over Florida, while Goulbourne has been helping the team with second-chance points.
VANDERBILT 65, ALABAMA 64 -- The Commodores outscored Alabama 37-29 in the second half to remain undefeated in Southeastern Conference play. At 13-3 and 2-0, the Commodores have won seven straight games after losing two games in a row in early December.
The last time Vanderbilt started 2-0 in league play was the 2005-06 season. The Commodores have never started 3-0 in SEC action.
Vanderbilt received balanced scoring to beat the Crimson Tide. Four players scored in double figures, with starters A.J. Ogilvy and Jeffrey Taylor each notching 13 points. Jermaine Beal and John Jenkins both contributed 11 points. Taylor's free throw with six seconds left proved to be the difference in Vandy's come-from-behind win at Alabama.
The Commodores shot just 39.2 percent from the floor and 54.1 percent from the free throw line. They overcame a bad shooting night by committing just eight turnovers and pulling down 11 offensive rebounds.
--Vanderbilt traditionally has relied a lot on its perimeter game, hoping it would overcome the Commodores' deficiencies inside.
Not so much anymore.
The Commodores pounded the ball inside on Florida in the second half to come away with a 95-87 victory in their SEC opener. Vandy outscored the Gators 40-22 in the paint to make up for the 39-21 advantage the visitors had in three-point scoring.
"We were a force inside and, obviously, our ability to get the ball inside and draw some fouls was good," coach Kevin Stallings said. "Both teams played really well, particularly offensively."
The Commodores also enjoyed a 32-29 advantage in rebounding, thanks to the 18 boards forward Andre Walker and center A.J. Ogilvy combined for. Walker had 10 by himself, the second time this season he has been in double digits.
"His offense is secondary," Stallings said of Walker, "and he's really big on getting us the ball. He's a glue guy. He's an excellent defender and rebounder and a really good passer."
Said guard Jermaine Beal: "I think Andre was the man today. Every time I got trapped, he was really there to bail me out."
--Andre Walker entered the week averaging only 6.6 points per game, but he has added a toughness to the front line for the Commodores. He is averaging 5.1 rebounds per game and has 17 steals, matching Jeffery Taylor for the team lead, and 14 blocked shots, third most on the team. He tied a career-high with his three assists against Florida.
"I love to pass the ball," he said afterward.
--C Festus Ezeli, a 6-11 sophomore from Nigeria who redshirted in the 2007-08 campaign, is becoming more and more of a force as the season wears on. He is averaging just under seven points and four rebounds over his last seven outings while going 24-of-49 from the field.
ON THE SPOT: The Commodores made 17 turnovers against Florida, three more than the Gators were charged with. For the season, Vandy has made 215 turnovers to their opponents' 216.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It raises the confidence level of everyone, but when your marquee guys start to play big, it gets everyone going." -- Coach Kevin Stallings, on the impact C A.J. Ogilvy (24 points, eight rebounds, two blocks) had in the win over Florida.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
SEASON RECAP: Vanderbilt finished a six-game homestand coming off a loss to Western Kentucky in Nashville's Sommet Center with a 6-0 record. The Commodores have won 14 consecutive games in Memorial Gym, including all nine games played on campus this season to stretch their record to 12-3.
PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- F Andre Walker, C A.J. Ogilvy, G/F Jeffery Taylor, G Brad Tinsley, G Jermaine Beal. Key Subs -- F Darshawn McClellan, G/F Steve Tchiengang, G/F Lance Goulbourne, G John Jenkins.
Vanderbilt 82, Southern Mississippi 46
Vanderbilt 73, Middle Tennessee State 53
Vanderbilt 95, Florida 87
Vanderbilt 65, Alabama 64
at South Carolina, Saturday, Jan. 16.
vs. Auburn, Saturday, Jan. 23.
at Tennessee, Wednesday, Jan. 27.
at Kentucky, Saturday, Jan. 30.
IN FOCUS: The Commodores blocked five more shots against Alabama to lift their season total to 94 blocks. Last year, Vanderbilt set a school record with 137 blocks. At their current rate, the Commodores will smash last year's mark.
--G John Jenkins came off the bench to score 11 points against Alabama. The freshman hit three of his four 3-point attempts. Jenkins fell two points shy of tying two Vandy players for team-high in points against Alabama. Jenkins entered the Alabama game leading the team in scoring in three of the last five games, averaging 15.6 points in those games. Jenkins has scored in double figures in 11 games, and drilled a minimum of three treys for seven straight games. Jenkins has made 25 of his 41 3-point attempts in the seven-game span.
--C A.J. Ogilvy just missed a double-double when he netted 13 points and nine rebounds against Alabama. The junior is picking up his play in SEC play, with 37 points and 17 rebounds in his last two games. Ogilvy is padding his scoring by getting to the free throw line. At Alabama, he made seven of his 10 free throw attempts. He made 10 of 12 free throws against Florida.
--G/F Jeffery Taylor had another big night, scoring 13 points and pulling down nine rebounds in the win at Alabama. The sophomore scored in double figures for the third straight game, raising his three-game scoring total to 41 points.
--G Jermaine Beal scored a season-high 22 points against Florida, the first time this season he has been over the 20-point mark. His previous season high was 18 against Arizona in late November.
The TSX Files - 1/14
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