NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The best shooter in the SEC?
Vanderbilt freshman John Jenkins would certainly be right up there. On Friday night, he was more than a shooter. He was the difference.
Jenkins poured in a career-high 25 points on 5-of-8 shooting from 3-point range and scored 12 straight points in the second half as Vanderbilt spurted past Georgia for a 78-66 win in the quarterfinals.
Jenkins scored 22 of his points in the second half and admitted that Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings instructed him to be more aggressive coming out of the break.
The Commodores (24-7) will move into Saturday’s semifinals against Mississippi State. After two tough matchups with Georgia earlier this season, Vanderbilt showed why Friday that this is Stallings’ best and most complete team since he’s been in Nashville.
Vanderbilt used its size to win the rebounding battle, shot 55.2 percent from the field in the second half and had 10 different players to score in the game.
The Bulldogs (14-17) simply couldn’t keep up after the Commodores ignited their run, although sophomore Travis Leslie was brilliant. He scored a career-high 34 points, pulled down six rebounds and had four steals.