A.J. Ogilvy scored 22 points and had nine rebounds as Vanderbilt improved to 3-0 in the Southeastern Conference – its best start in 20 years – with a 89-79 victory at South Carolina on Saturday.
Its chance to go 4-0 comes next Saturday at home against Auburn.
The last time the Commodores (14-3 overall) won their first three in conference play was 1989-90, their first season under former coach Eddie Fogler, who left the school to coach South Carolina. That team failed to make the NCAA tournament but won the National Invitation Tournament.
Ogilvy did not score a point until there was 2:01 to play in the first half. After that, he made seven field goals and eight free throws as he reached double figures for the eighth straight game. He even left briefly in the second half with what looked like an injury to his right leg or ankle.
Vanderbilt went ahead to stay when Jermaine Beal’s 3-pointer made it 8-7 2:45 into the contest.
South Carolina (11-6, 2-1) got within two, 19-17, when Devan Downey scored seven points in 1:13., but VU responded with a 7-0 run.
Downey made 12 of 21 shots and scored a game-high 35 points. All but two of the Gamecocks’ field goals came from their starting five.
Conversely, the Commodores’ four reserves – Festus Ezeli, Lance Goulbourne, Steve Tchiengang and John Jenkins – were a combined 11-for-15 from the field.
Jenkins’ 10 points was the most among that group. Jeffery Taylor had 16 and Beal added 10.
As a team, the Commodores shot 61.1 percent from the field (33-for-54), which was its second-highest percentage of the season. They also outrebounded South Carolina 36-22.