Commodores overcome late deficit, top Georgia in OT

Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 9:57pm
stallings.jpg
An emotional Kevin Stallings celebrates with fans after Vanderbilt's overtime win Thursday at Memorial Gym. / Mike Strasinger for The City Paper

Over.

It’s one of those versatile words. It has multiple meanings and can be combined with others to create an entirely different word.

Need proof? Check out Vanderbilt’s 96-94 victory Thursday over Georgia at Memorial Gymnasium, a contest that extended to ‘over’time and — finally — allowed the 16th-ranked Commodores to get ‘over’ last Saturday’s two-point loss to Kentucky.

“It was a hard-earned win,” VU coach Kevin Stallings said. “… It was evident, our guys unfortunately were hung over all week from that Kentucky game.”

By itself, ‘over’ can mean finished.

There was reason to believe the Commodores (21-6, 10-3 in the SEC) were exactly that when they went down six, 74-68, with 54 seconds to play in regulation. They had not led for more than 10 minutes and after having pulled even with 3:13 to go they promptly gave up eight of the next 10 points.

Yet when A.J. Ogilvy capped the unlikely rally with tip-in at 15 seconds to go and Georgia’s Travis Leslie missed two tries at the basket in the final two seconds, the contest was not over after 40 minutes.

“I’m proud of our guys,” Stallings said. “We were looking at not a very good situation there inside of four minutes. They just kept playing and kept playing and kept battling, kept making the plays we had to make.

“Finally we got it over the top and got it into overtime.”

‘Over’ also can mean to go above and beyond as Vanderbilt’s Jermaine Beal and Andre Walker both did, literally and figuratively.

Each set career-highs for points scored — Beal with 28, Walker with 17 — and both rose up at key moments of the game. Walker’s 3-point shot – his first of the season and third of his career – cut the deficit to two, 77-75, with 27 seconds to play after Beal had started the rally with four straight VU points.

“Coach was calling the play for me, and … whenever I could drive it, I drove the ball,” Beal said. “If it was crowded, then I just passed to ‘Dre or A.J. Everybody made plays at the end of the game.”

When all was said and done Vanderbilt ‘over’came an opponent that won the first meeting of the season between the schools and that, for much of this one, dominated near the basket.

The Bulldogs (12-14, 4-9) got 22 points and 10 rebounds from Leslie and 21 points and seven rebounds from Trey Thompkins, but those two combined for just three points in overtime.

“Their team played well, let’s give them credit,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “They got stops when they needed to, and they made big baskets.”

Ogilvy’s game-tying stick-back off a miss by Beal was out of the norm on a night when Georgia had decisive advantages in points in the paint (42-28), offensive rebounds (17-12) and second-chance points (19-12).

“A couple guys jumped trying to block Beal’s shot and … I didn’t get boxed out,” Ogilvy said. “I was glad I was able to get my hands to it, and I got a friendly bounce, which is pretty much what it came down to.”

While the Commodores could not get to the basket, they eventually got to the foul line and ‘over’achieved when they did so. They made 35 of 39 foul shots for the game (89.7 percent), including the final 18 – 12 of them in overtime. Ogilvy was 11-for-14 from there but just 3-for-10 from the field. Beal was a perfect 7-for-7 and Walker 6-for-6.

Georgia, conversely, missed two free throws with 24 seconds to go when it had the chance to extend its lead to four points.

“(It was) concentration, down the stretch there especially,” Ogilvy said. “Beal (was) making them. I mean, we wouldn’t have won the game without it.”

To be sure, that is not ‘over’stating it.

Briefly

• Ogilvy passed Phil Cox and Matt Frieje and moved into second place on Vanderbilt’s career list of free throws made with 452. In so doing, he moved to within one of the all-time record holder, Bobby Thym, who made 453 from 1954-57.

Ogilvy also moved to second for career free throws attempted by a Commodore with 615. He passed Clyde Lee (610) but still did not move within reach of Thym (675).

• Beal led all Commodores with 39 minutes played. In that time, he not only set his career scoring high, he also had seven assists, which matched his season-high, and had no turnovers.

The last time he had at least seven assists in a conference game was Feb. 5, 2009 against Alabama (eight).

• Walker had attempted just 11 3-pointers – and made two – in his career before he knocked down one in the final minute of regulation. The last time he made a 3-pointer was Feb. 16, 2008 against Florida.

“I think I can make them,” Walker said. “I had full confidence. That’s why I took the shot.”

 

1 Comment on this post:

By: fightcrib on 2/26/10 at 11:34

According to UK Rupp Rafters fan site, Vandy's win over Georgia was not legitimate, because the officials robbed Georgia.