Vanderbilt Upsets No. 15 Georgia As Freije Scores
Career-High 31 1/28/03
The Commodores recorded their second upset of a top-15
team in three home games Wednesday night as Vanderbilt
beat No. 15 Georgia 94-91 in Memorial Gym behind junior
Matt Freije's career-high 31 points and nine rebounds.
The Commodores put their offense on display Wednesday
night in front of the 11,491 Vanderbilt faithful. After
scoring 75 points at No. 6 Florida, Vanderbilt tallied
its largest point total of the season against the Bulldogs,
who entered the game No. 1 in the RPI.
Tonight was Freije's night. Freije came out of the
locker room sizzling as he scored 11 of Vanderbilt's
first 15 points. In the first half alone Freije scored
19 points on 70 percent shooting, including three buckets
from long range.
Freshman Mario Moore contributed to the hot start as
he added eight points, including two threes of his own.
Moore and Freije combined to hit Vanderbilt's first
four three-point shots which propelled Vanderbilt to
an early 22-12 lead. Moore also connected with former
AAU teammate Jason Holwerda for one of the prettiest
fastbreaks one will ever see. The duo covered the length
of the court without the ball ever touching the ground
only to have Moore score the bucket on a layup.
"I have been playing with Jason for so long it
was just natural," said Moore.
Georgia mounted a comeback as they scored seven straight
points behind former walk-on Richard Wehunt to cut the
deficit to three. Wehunt, who came into the game averaging
only 3.7 points per game, was a thorn in the Commodores'
side all night. With so much emphasis on defending Jarvis
Hayes and Ezra Williams, Wehunt managed to get open
and scored a career-high 15.
"Wehunt came off the bench and really, really
hurt us," said Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings.
Freije came out of the halftime break just as hot as
when he went in. Freije hit back-to-back threes to extend
the Commodore lead to 15.
But the story of the second half was sophomore Brian
Thornton. Thornton, averaging 13 per game, was held
scoreless in the first stanza. As the second half began,
there was a concerted effort to work the ball inside
to Thornton. Thornton scored 16 points in the half and
nailed a few critical free throws down the stretch to
help seal the victory.
After Moore hit a three and Lakey converted a steal
into a layup to push the VU lead to 17, Georgia seemed
to turn up the intensity. The Bulldogs slowly chipped
away at the Commodore lead until they eventually cut
the deficit to three at 83-80 with 2:39 left to play.
That would be as close as the Bulldogs would get as
the two teams traded free throws for buckets down the
Junior Scott Hundley was one of the unsung heroes in
the game. Hundley, who scored 14 points and recorded
four steals, just seemed to be in the right place at
all the right times. When the 'Dores needed a bucket,
Hundley was there. When Vanderbilt needed some extra
defensive attention on Hayes and Williams, Hundley was
there. When the game was hanging in the balance, Hundley
was there to nail the final four free throws that gave
Vanderbilt the victory.
The Commodores will try to make it two in a row as
they host the Ole Miss Rebels Saturday night at Memorial
Gym. Tipoff is set at 7 pm.