Scores 25 But Vanderbilt Falls To Tennessee 70-65
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.