Freije Scores 25 But Vanderbilt Falls To Tennessee 70-65 3/8/03

The two featured players delivered quite a show Saturday night in Tennessee’s 70-65 victory over Vanderbilt in Memorial Gym. Vanderbilt’s junior Matt Freije, fourth in the SEC in scoring, scored 25 points including three 3-pointers. Tennessee senior Ron Slay, the SEC’s leading scorer, also had a big night as he netted 22 points and seven rebounds for the Vols.

Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings put in an aggressive scheme to slow down Slay. Corey Smith started out on Slay, but picked up two quick fouls and had to sit for the rest of the first half. Vanderbilt also threw David Przybyszewski, Brian Thornton, Julian Terrell, and a heavy dose of double teams to try and stop Slay.

The Commodores appeared to have the strategy of shooting their way to victory. In the first half alone, Vanderbilt hoisted 20 shots from beyond the arc, connecting on seven. The ‘Dores finished the game by going nine-for-27 from 3-point range.

Slay battled foul trouble the all night. At the 13:51 mark of the second half, Slay committed his fourth foul of the game. As he headed to the bench, the Vanderbilt squad seemed poised for the win.

Vanderbilt then built the largest lead of the game when Smith drained a 3-pointer to put the ‘Dores up 11 with 11:38 remaining in the game. But the Vols used two layups and a 3-pointer to trim the VU lead back to four at 50-46 in just over a minute.

Tennessee worked the VU lead down to a single point with about seven minutes to go. With VU on top 55-54, the game stalled for a while and no one scored a point for almost three minutes.

Perhaps the most important play of the game came on a busted UT possession. As the shot clock was winding down, Thaydeus Holden drove into the lane only to have the ball squirt out to a wide open Slay, who buried the 3-pointer to put UT up 63-57 with 3:47 remaining.

Trailing by four, Vanderbilt put together an intense defensive stop at the two-minute mark. As Tennessee worked the ball around to Holden, Jason Holwerda blocked the 3-point attempt as the shot clock sounded, which gave the ball back to the Commodores.

Even though Freije hit some huge buckets down the stretch, Vanderbilt would never regain the lead.

Vanderbilt featured an unusual starting lineup including Freije, Terrell, Moore, Smith, and the lone senior Matt Carter. Carter and manager Ian Andreason were honored before the game on senior night.


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