Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Vanderbilt takes charge when it counts
By Chris Low
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- After hanging around for much of the game, Vanderbilt was at its best Wednesday when it counted most.
The Commodores hit every big shot and made every key play in the final 10 minutes. They extended their winning streak to 10 games and handed 14th-ranked Tennessee its first home loss of the season.
The 85-76 win by Vanderbilt was Kevin Stallings' first over Bruce Pearl at Thompson-Boling Arena. More importantly, the Commodores (16-3, 5-0) won for the third time this season on the road in the SEC.
There's still a lot of basketball left to be played, but this is shaping up to be perhaps Stallings' best and most complete team.
The Commodores go nine deep with very little drop-off. They have good size, and have a senior point guard who can lead them where they want to go.
Jermaine Beal was sensational Wednesday with a game-high 25 points. He triggered the decisive run with eight straight points, including back-to-back 3-pointers, to turn a 66-60 game into a 74-60 runaway with 4:57 remaining.
Vanderbilt made its run with Tennessee's Wayne Chism on the bench. Chism hyperextended his knee in the loss to Georgia last weekend.
The Vols (15-4, 3-2) have now lost two straight after winning seven in a row. They went cold from 3-point range in the second half and couldn't answer the Commodores' charge.