Fall to No. 12 UConn, 76-70 12/1/02
Emeka Okafor was too much for the Commodores Sunday
night as he poured in 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead
Connecticut past the 'Dores 76-70 Sunday night in Memorial
Gym. The Commodores drop to 3-1 on the year as the Huskies
improve to 3-0.
Both teams opened the game aggressive on the defensive
end. The 'Dores got a steal on the very first possession
from sophomore guard Jason Holwerda, but the Huskies
flexed their muscle by keeping the Commodores from scoring
a field goal until 3:27 into the game.
Although the Commodores never led in the half, they
tied the game at 26 with a couple of electrifying plays.
The first came from Holwerda tossing an alley-oop to
Freije who laid it in. Then sophomore Corey Smith launched
a three-pointer from the baseline that rimmed out, but
Freije was there to tip it in and bring the crowd of
12, 490 to their feet.
"It got awfully loud" according to head coach
Kevin Stallings when asked what he thought of Memorial
Magic Night. The Vanderbilt athletic department recognized
former Commodores Barry Booker, Barry Goheen, and Ronnie
McMahan in addition to giving two free tickets to every
season ticket holder. These efforts were put in place
to "pack the house" which was very effective
as the near sellout crowd saw a thrilling game.
The Commodores entered halftime trailing 38-31.
Okafor, who dominated the game with 25 points and 11
rebounds, came out of the half and tried to put the
game away early with eight straight points to push the
UConn lead to 46-37.
But the resilient Commodores would not go away as they
mounted a 9-1 run that included a three-pointer from
Freije. The run was capped off by a Przybyszewski hook
in the lane over Okafor to narrow the margin to one
at 51-50. Freije finished the game with 18 points and
Vanderbilt's first and only lead of the game came at
54-53 when freshman Mario Moore stole the ball, tipped
it to himself, and raced down the court for a lay-up.
But, just as the Commodores gained the momentum, the
Huskies ripped it back by reeling off six straight points
to regain the lead at 59-54 with 7:49 remaining.
The Commodores would only threaten one more time in
the half as Vanderbilt falls 76-70 in an exhilarating
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