Scouting Georgia Southern
Georgia Southern comes to Vanderbilt having won two games
in two days this past weekend. The Eagles defeated John Jay
83-60 and then claimed a 91-77 victory over Maine to improve
their record to 2-0.
GSU finished 16-12 last season and 9-7 in league play to
win the schools first Southern Conference championship
after claiming the conferences South Division title.
The Eagles return eight letterwinners and three starters from
Senior guard Julius Jenkins has led the team in scoring
in the first two games with 22 points in each game. He also
has grabbed eight rebounds in the two contests. Last season,
Jenkins averaged 14.8 points per game and recorded a team-high
Sophomore Terry Williams also had a solid 2001-02 season.
In his first year with the Eagles, Williams averaged nine
points per game and finished seventh in the Southern Conferene
with 63 three-pointers, while shooting 39.9 percent from behind
the three-point arc. Williams has scored 19 points and dished
out 16 assists in the first two games of this season.
Defense has been the early calling card for this Vanderbilt
team. The Commodores limited Alabama A&M to just 19.3 percent
shooting from the field after holding Southeastern Louisiana
to 33.9 percent from the field. The lowest field goal percentage
for an opponent last season was 30 percent by Houston in the
opening round of the NIT.
The Commodores held Alabama A&M to just 13 in the first 25:12
and just 40 for the game. It was the lowest scoring output
for a Commodore opponent since Vanderbilt held Nicholls State
to 37 points in an 85-37 victory Dec. 15, 1996. The lowest
point total for an opponent last season was 50 by Houston
in the opening round of the NIT.
Vanderbilt also has recorded 22 steals and has outrebounded
its two opponents by 23 boards.
Winning Without Treys
Last season, the lowest number of three-pointers Vanderbilt
made in a win was five. This season the Commodores are 2-0,
making five and four treys in the first two games, respectively.
Conversely, the Commodores have improved their inside game.
Vanderbilt scored 44 of its 80 points against Southeastern
Louisiana and 28 of its 68 points against Alabama A&M in the
paint. Because of this inside presence, the Dores are shooting
51.5 percent from the field, including a 62-percent performance
against Southeastern Louisiana.
Junior guard Russell Lakey has gotten off to a good start
this season in the areas of assists and steals. In the first
two games, Lakey has handed out 10 assists and recorded six
His talents were best shown against Alabama A&M, where he
recorded five steals and five assists. His five steals tied
a career high and was just three off school record for a game,
while his five assists is just two short of his career best.
Lakey ranks third in single-season freshman assists with
94 (2000-01) and also ranks 10th in single-season steals with
54 during his freshman campaign (2000-01).
Vanderbilt is in the midst of an impressive streak against
non-conference opponents. Entering the Georgia Southern game,
the Commodores are 53-2 in their last 55 homes games versus
non-SEC foes. They have won 15 of these games in a row since
dropping a 77- 74 decision to Notre Dame Dec. 2, 2000. The
only other loss in the stretch was an 83-68 loss to Wake Forest
March 14, 2000 in the first round of the NIT.
Shutting Down Their Ace
In the first two games this season, the Vanderbilt defense
has done a good job of holding the opposing team’s leading
scorer in check. Southeastern Louisiana’s Amir Abdur-Rahim
was held scoreless in the first half and did not score until
the 16:27 mark of the second half. He finished the game with
13 points after averaging almost 16 points a game last season.
Alabama A&M’s top threat, Ricky Ricketts, also was shut out
in his first half against the Commodores. He did not score
until the 14:48 mark of the second stanza and finished the
game with just nine points. Ricketts had scored 28 points
in the Bulldogs’ season opener after averaging almost 12 points
per game last year.
Scores Career High
Sophomore Corey Smith recorded a career high with his gamehigh
13 points against Alabama A&M. Smith was 5-of-8 from the field,
including a three-pointer, and 2-of-2 from the charity stripe.
His previous career high was nine points, which he scored
four times last year as a freshman.
Making the accomplishment improbable is that Smith has a
hairline fracture in the thumb on his right hand, which is
his shooting hand. He is forced to wear a splint, which is
taped into place for every practice and every game. He will
wear the splint for the next four to six weeks.
“Actually, I think it is helping my shot,” Smith said after
the Alabama A&M game. “Because of the wrap on my thumb, I
don't put the ball on the palm of my hand which is a bad place
for it to be. It also stops my thumb from interfering with
Deuce Pulls Down Double-Digit Boards
Sophomore Brian Thornton grabbed 10 rebounds against Alabama
A&M, which is the fifth time in his career he has recorded
a double-digit rebound game. He also continues to be the only
Commodore since the beginning of last season to post a double-figure
Begins With Career Night
Jason Holwerda is trying his best to avoid a sophomore slump
as he began his second Commodore season with a bang. Against
Southeastern Louisiana, Holwerda recorded career highs in
points (12), FGs made (5), FGs attempted (7), 3-pt FGs made
(2), 3-pt FGs attempted (4) and tied a career high with five
The native of Chattanooga, Tenn., also played solid defense
throughout the game. And for good measure, he helped out on
offense with two alley-oop dunks. With the first dunk, Holwerda
set up Matt Freije for the acrobatic slam. For the second
play, Holwerda took a midcourt pass from freshman Mario Moore
and finished the fast break with a rim-rattling dunk.
Three-Point Streak Moves Past 500 Games
Vanderbilt continues to be one of only three schools (UNLV
& Princeton) to have made a three-point field goal in every
game since the shot was introduced for the 1986-87 season.
Vanderbilt’s streak stands at 506 games, which is just three
games behind UNLV’s streak for the longest in the nation.\
Krueger Leaves Team
Vanderbilt freshman Bryson Krueger has decided to leave Vanderbilt
University. He plans to attend a junior college in his home
state of Arizona.
Krueger, a 6-6, 183-pound guard from Tempe, Ariz., missed
most of the preseason practices because of personal issues
and did not play in either exhibition game. He was scheduled
to be redshirted this season before deciding to leave the