Connecticut comes to Nashville riding a two-game home
winning streak to start the season. The Huskies defeated
Quinnipiac 91-72 and George Washington 67-55. They enter
the Vanderbilt contest ranked No. 12 in the nation.
The Huskies have four players averaging double digits
this season with sophomore guard Ben Gordon leading
the way at 19.5 points per game. Following him are senior
guard Tony Robertson (15.5), sophomore center Emeka
Okafor (14.5) and junior guard Taliek Brown (10.0).
Okafor, who last season was named a First-Team Freshman
All-American and is a preseason Wooden Award candidate
this season, is averaging a team-high 12 rebounds per
game and has already collected 11 blocks in two games.
Last season he set a school record with 138 blocks and
was first in the BIG EAST and third in the nation with
4.1 blocks per game.
Vanderbilt Director of Athletics Todd Turner presided
over Connecticut athletics as the Huskies’ Director
of Athletics for three years from 1987-90. At UConn,
Turner supervised the construction of Harry A. Gampel
Pavilion, the Huskies’ on-campus basketball facility.
Memorial Magic Night
The Vanderbilt athletic department has focused on making
tonight’s UConn game special. Memorial Magic Night is
designed to pack Memorial Gym with the most rabid of
Commodore fans as well as to provide them a Vanderbilt
basketball experience unlike any other. There will be
special presentations and acknowledgements of former
players throughout the game to go along live entertainment
in the lobbies and throughtout the concourse.
Three...Dot...Data vs. Georgia Southern
After turning the ball over 48 times in the first two
games, Vanderbilt had just four turnovers in the first
half and 15 for the game...Head Coach Kevin Stallings
stayed with his starting five through the first media
timeout for the first time in recent memory...Points
in the paint: VU 48, GSU 18...Points off turnovers:
VU 38, GSU 7...Secondchance points: VU 14, GSU 18...Fast-break
points: VU 11, GSU 4.
Finds Offense in Lakey
Junior guard Russell Lakey put together one of the more
solid games of his career against Georgia Southern.
Lakey dished out a career-high eight assists and pocketed
four steals, while committing no turnovers. For the
season, he has 18 assists to just six turnovers.
Also, Lakey’s 15 points, which he scored all in the
first half, was just three off his career best. Lakey
made them count as he scored 11 points in the final
6:08 to help key Vanderbilt’s 31-10 run to close out
the first half.
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).
Just Misses Double-Double
Sophomore Brian Thornton had one of his best games as
a Commodore versus Georgia Southern. In just 19 minutes
of action, he scored a career-high 18 points and just
missed his second career double- double with nine boards.
It was Thornton’s second consecutive good game as he
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 rebound game.
Vanderbilt Versus Ranked Opponents
Vanderbilt finished the 2001-02 campaign 3-4 and 9-15
under Kevin Stallings versus ranked opponents. The Commodores
collected victories over ranked foes Western Kentucky,
Georgia and Kentucky. In the 36 games versus ranked
opponents leading up to Stallings’ arrival (1994-99),
VU won just six games.
Still Serving Up Wins on Silver Treys
With all of the preseason talk about Vanderbilt’s lack
of a perimeter threat, it was hard for some to believe
what they saw in the Commodores’ 96-60 win over Georgia
Southern. VU finished the game 10-of-16 (.625) from
three-point range. It was the highest three-point percentage
since Vanderbilt hit 65.2 percent (15-23) of its treys
Jan. 1, 2000 against Florida.
Through Tuesday’s games, Vanderbilt ranks second in
the SEC in three-point field goal percentage (.422)
and fifth in three pointers made (6.33).
Going Inside More
Conversely, the Commodores have improved their inside
game. Vanderbilt has scored more than 49 percent of
its baskets from the paint. Because of this inside presence,
the Dores are shooting 55.6 percent from the field,
including a 62.7 percent effort versus Georgia Southern
and a 62-percent performance against Southeastern Louisiana.
JT Makes His Mark on the Stats Sheet
Freshman Julian Terrell had a statistical coming out
party against Georgia Southern. In just 19 minutes of
action, he scored 10 points, grabbed eight rebounds
and recorded three steals.
Home Sweet Home
Vanderbilt is in the midst of an impressive streak against
non-conference opponents. Entering the Connecticut game,
the Commodores are 54-2 in their last 56 homes games
versus non-SEC foes. They have won 16 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.