Vanderbilt might want to stay out of the polls.
Tuesday, one day after being ranked No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll, the Commodores lost. They allowed Illinois to shoot 59.3 percent from the field in a 79-68 defeat at Champaign, Ill.
Vanderbilt (6-2) fell behind 9-0 in the opening three minutes and never led. In fact, it got no closer than seven points, 49-42, throughout the second half.
It was similar to two weeks earlier when the Commodores were ranked 24th by the Associated Press and then lost that day 67-58 to Cincinnati in the opening round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational.
Against Illinois (7-2), neither of VU’s top two scorers, Jeffery Taylor and A.J. Ogilvy, scored in the first 15 minutes of the contest. Ogilvy finally got on the board with a layup with 4:47 to go in the first half, and Taylor’s first points came on free throws with 1:54 left before intermission.
Taylor eventually finished with 12 points, tied with Brad Tinsley for the team lead. Jermaine Beal and John Jenkins each had 11.
Ogilvy, the current Southeastern Conference Player of the Week, finished with eight points and three rebounds.
Each of Vanderbilt’s first seven opponents shot 44 percent or worse, but the Illini made 32 of 54 field goals overall and eight of 15 (53.3 percent) 3-pointers.
Illinois guard Demetri McCamey made eight of 10 shots and led all scorers with 23 points.