So far this season, Vanderbilt has the magic touch.
After trailing by 18 points in the second half, the 20th-ranked Commodores rallied for a 91-85 overtime victory at DePaul on Wednesday at AllState Arena.
In improving to 10-0, Vanderbilt continued to win in a variety of ways.
“We were extremely lucky to win the game,” Stallings said. “But we found a way, and that’s what these guys do. If we play good, they find a way, and if they play bad, they find a way.”
VU’s top offensive threats, center A.J. Ogilvy and swingman Shan Foster, were neutralized most of the game, combining for only 10 points in the first half. Both came on strong late in the game and finished with 19 points.
Ogilvy’s layup with 22 seconds remaining in regulation capped Vanderbilt’s comeback and tied the score at 79.
Ogilvy’s dunk gave Vanderbilt an 82-81 lead with 3:39 left in overtime, and Foster’s 3-pointer from the left corner made it 85-81 with 2:02 left.
After a layup by Draelon Burns pulled DePaul to 87-85 with 28 seconds left, Ogilvy sprinted out for a dunk. Vanderbilt’s Jermaine Beal then hit two free throws to make it 91-85 with 13 seconds left.
Vanderbilt is off to its best start since going 12-0 to open the 2003-04 season.
The Commodores built an early 17-13 lead midway through the first half, but DePaul went on a 20-2 run to take a 33-19 advantage with 4:19 left before the break.
The Blue Demons pushed the lead to 58-40 cushion with just under six minutes into the second half. VU then went on an 18-4 run – led by 10 points from reserve center Alan Metcalfe – to cut the deficit to 62-58 with 9:26 to play.
Metcalfe finished with 18 points, while guard Keegan Bell came off the bench to add 12 points for VU.
Vanderbilt shot 54.5 percent from the field in the second half and made four of six shots in overtime.
“In the second half, we got a good lift from the bench,” Stallings said. “Keegan came in and played solid for us, and Alan really picked it up for us.
“Scoring really energized us in the second half. We didn’t play well defensively or offensively tonight, but we’ll take it.”
Stallings said Vanderbilt felt fortunate to win, a sentiment he expressed after the game to Blue Demons coach Jerry Wainwright.
“Their team played better than us for more of the game, and I told Jerry that at the end of the game,” Stallings said.
Burns led DePaul (2-4) with 24 points, while Mac Koshwal added 21.
VU returns to action Dec. 22 at home against Tennessee State.