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 stretch.

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.


Vanderbilt Athletic Department
2601 Jess Neely Drive
Nashville, TN 37212
615-322-GOLD (4653)