Wednesday, December 6, 2006

O'Dyle Rules

Vanderbilt got back to .500 last night with a thorough thrashing of East Tennessee State. The Commies improved their lifetime record against the Bucs to 8-0, after a 104-62 win in Nashville. Last might’s Memorial Massacre was the largest margin of victory and greatest point total for a Commie team in the Stallings era. Vanderbilt led throughout, opening the game on a 15-2 run and ending the 1st half on a 22-7 run. Vanderbilt’s first half surge was led by Shan Foster’s hot-hand; going 6-9 from downtime, Foster scored 20 point in the opening frame. Vanderbilt first half dominance was rooted in the Commies asserting themselves on the boards, boasting a 22-14 rebounding edge and scoring 16 second chance points. Vanderbilt’s ability to force 10 first half turnovers that led to 10 points enabled Vanderbilt to expand its lead going into the locker room.

Shan Foster led all scorers with 29 points and 10 rebounds, and shot a whopping 58% both from field and behind the arc. Ross Neltner added 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists for the game, and continues to be the glue holding the team together. In victory, Stallings was able to empty his bench, allowing everyone to play at least 10 minutes, with 9 commies playing almost a half of Basketball.

While Vanderbilt’s win was convincing, it further demonstrates that this team will continue to live and die by the three ball. Last night, it worked as the Commies shot 48% and scored 40% of their points from downtown. As the first 3 losses demonstrated however, this is a very streaky shooting team, and when we are off, we are very off. Neltner, Byars, and Cage continue to provide quality minutes, and the two-headed monster of Red and “Dolla” Beals appears to be working. Rebounding and defense continue to be key, and against a lesser opponent, these elements of our game were able shine. Looking ahead to Georgia Tech on Saturday however, it is unlikely that the Yellow Jackets will roll over like ETSU did. In the meantime, Stallings’ squad must look ahead to cross-town rival Lipscomb who come to Memorial tomorrow night. A big game for Lipscomb, Vanderbilt cannot afford to look past any opponent. With that said, if their A-Sun brethren ETSU is any indication, Vanderbilt should be able to get above .500 for the first time all season.

Check back tomorrow for a Lipscomb preview.

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