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January 7, 2006NASHVILLE - Shan Foster hit six-of-nine three-pointers, including three in a three-minute stretch during the second half, helping Vanderbilt defeat Auburn 74-50 in the SEC opener for both squads.
Foster's 20 points led a balanced scoring attack that saw four Vandy players - Julian Terrell (13 points), Derrick Byars (10), and DeMarre Carroll (10) - score in double figures. The Commodores were especially hot from three-point range, where they hit 12-of-20 as a team.
Vandy coach Kevin Stallings chose to start Mario Moore at point guard for the first time in nearly a month, and the VU offense seemed to respond immediately. Auburn's Ronny LeMelle hit a three-pointer from the left corner to start the game, but Vandy hit seven of their first eight shots to jump out to an 18-9 lead.
Auburn cut the margin to three on two occasions - the second on LeMelle's three that made it 32-29 at the 2:33 mark -- but that was the closest the Tigers would get. Terrell responded by hitting two layups to make it 36-29 Vandy at the half, and a 17-8 run over the first 7:14 of the second half to extend that lead to 53-37.
VU's largest lead came at 0:33 when Alan Metcalfe hit a short jumper in the lane to give VU at 74-48 lead.
"When you shoot the ball well, your team looks a lot better," said Stallings, whose team hit 53% from the field for the game. "And we obviously shot it well today."
The Commodores committed just six turnovers on the afternoon, tying a season low set against New Orelans on December 20 and against Furman on November 20.
Auburn, the nation's #23 team in Jerry Palm's RPI, dropped to 8-4 on the season. The Commodores, coming off a loss at Georgia Tech, improved to 10-2.
Vanderbilt travels to Rupp Arena for an ESPN nationally-televised game at 8 p.m. Central Time on Tuesday. Vandy has never won at Rupp Arena since the building opened in 1976.
The Wildcats, who lost 73-46 at Kansas on Saturday, will have center Randolph Morris available for the game. Morris haas served a season-long NCAA-mandated suspension related to his declaring for the 2005 NBA Draft.