Commodores Beat Bulldogs 68-40 11/24/02

Vanderbilt defeated the Bulldogs of Alabama A&M 68-40 Sunday night at Memorial Gym. The Commodores improve to 2-0 and the Bulldogs drop to 1-1.

The Commodores opened the game with the type of suffocating defense head coach Kevin Stallings preaches to his players. The Bulldogs shot only 16 percent from the field in the first half due to the intense Vanderbilt press that caused 16 first-half turnovers.

The Commodores' stingy defense led to early offense as Vanderbilt jumped ahead 11-4 with two transition buckets by sophomore Jason Holwerda. Later in the half, the 'Dores put together a 16-0 run by holding Alabama A&M scoreless for 6:34 and connecting on two three-pointers by freshman Mario Moore and sophomore Corey Smith to push the score to 27-9.

Vanderbilt led at halftime 31-13.

Vanderbilt came out of the break with some flash as Holwerda hit junior Matt Freije on a backdoor cut for an alley-oop that brought the 4,944 fans to their feet. Freije finished with 13 points on the night.

Sophomore Brian Thornton once again owned the paint Sunday night. Thornton, who scored only five points, contributed by pulling down 10 rebounds.

Vanderbilt was led by sophomore Corey Smith's career-high 13 points. Smith, who played 24 minutes, was 5-8 from the field with one three-pointer.

The Commodore defense, which started the game so strong, finished the game just as strong. The Bulldogs were held to only 23 percent shooting in the second half and 19 percent for the game. Junior Russell Lakey gave Alabama A&M fits all night as he recorded five steals.

Vanderbilt returns to action Tuesday night to face Georgia Southern at 7 p.m. at Memorial Gym.

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