Vanderbilt-Auburn: Commodores Wake Up in the Second Half to Beat Tigers 82-74

Eric AdamsContributor IJanuary 23, 2010

TAMPA, FL - MARCH 21:  Head coach Kevin Stallings of the Vanderbilt Commodores yells during his team's game against the Siena Saints in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional at the St. Pete Times Forum March 21, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Can we all just agree to forget about the first half of Vanderbilt's 82-74 victory of Auburn? I know Kevin Stallings wants to.

“It looks like we hadn’t played in a week in the first half. I thought [Auburn was] a more aggressive team," Stallings said.
At one point in the first half, Auburn built a 16-point lead. The continued to dominate the game, leading by 11 at half. One big key was the 'Dores' inability to grab a rebound in the first half. They were out-rebounded 22-10 in the first, including a 7/1 deficit on the offensive glass. Stallings tried to describe where the rebounding problem came from.
“There were a couple of long bounces," Stallings said. "More than that were their speed and quickness or us not being in the position we needed to be. We got whooped on the boards in the first half. It’s disappointing.”
The real hero of the game was Brad Tinsley. He played his best game of the season, keeping Vandy within striking distance in the first 20 minutes. He scored 11 of his 15 in the frame, finally coming out of his season-long slump. Well, at least I think it was a slump.
“As a shooter, you don’t want to see yourself in a slump," Tinsley said. "My confidence wasn’t down, but our offense does a great job getting each other open and I was still able to contribute. It’s all about getting the win. If I got 0 points or 20, it doesn’t matter as long as we win.”
Good attitude from a key player.
A couple other thoughts to wrap up Vandy's 4-0 start in the SEC.
At some point, Vanderbilt is going to play a complete game, and somebody is going to get hammered. It's either a slow start, players disappearing for stretches, or rebounding/defense issues. Today, Jeffery Taylor got into early foul trouble. That resulted in zero points at half. Then he kicked things into gear and finished with 18.
I think I've watched a lot of games this season, but this was one of the first times I saw Stallings run a three-guard set. He used a lineup of Tinsley, Jermaine Beal, John Jenkins, Andre Walker, and A.J. Ogilvy. That was a fun group to watch. I would like to see that group more often, rotating Taylor in for Walker.
As I type this, Duke is wearing out Clemson. They have kept their three studs on the floor for basically the entire game. I would like to see Stallings play about seven guys against Kentucky if they can stay out of foul trouble.
Situation: Seven minutes left to play with Vandy leading 63-58. Memorial is rocking after the 'Dores are on a very nice roll. In the next two minutes, the Commodores get off three shots from the field.
Missed three by Lance Goulbourne.
Missed three by Lance Goulbourne.
Missed three by Lance Goulbourne.
What?! He has played well in clutch minutes, but not sure if you want him taking that many shots down the stretch.
I'll close with my favorite moment of the game, maybe the year. Vanderbilt has clawed its way within two points after playing from behind the entire game. The stage is set, and you can feel the crowd wanting to explode. Jenkins comes off a high screen and you know what's coming next. There was no doubt that shot was going in. Vandy didn't trail again.
There was a lot of talk in the pre-game show about the possibility of this being a trap game. Well it was, and the Commodores fought their way through.
Now it's time for the epic week at Tennessee and at Kentucky.

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