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January 30, 2008

Slide continues: Vandy falls at Ole Miss

Vanderbilt's 16-0 start is officially a thing of the distant past.

Tonight, the Commodores dropped their fourth consecutive road game, losing a 74-58 decision to Ole Miss in Oxford. The loss dropped Vanderbilt to 2-4 in the SEC. With South Carolina's win over Georgia, Vanderbilt is now tied with the Gamecocks for last place in the SEC East. Mississippi moves to 3-3 in the SEC, and 16-3 overall.

After falling behind by large first half margins at Tennessee and Florida, the Commodores fought hard early to stay in the fight against Ole Miss. Vandy was down just 29-26 at the break.

The Rebels slowly stretched their lead to 13, 44-31, with fifteen minutes to play. But back-to-back 3-pointers by point guards Keegan Bell and Jermaine Beal quickly pulled Vandy to within five.

But on the following two possessions Vanderbilt turned the ball over in their halfcourt offense, leading to slam dunks on the other end by Ole Miss. After an 8-0 run, Ole Miss eventually stretched their lead to as many as 15 to coast to an easy win.

Shan Foster led Vanderbilt with 14 points, but was just 5-of-13 from the field. Andrew Ogilvy struggled for the fourth consecutive game, scoring just 10 points on 5-of-12 from the field -- 10 below his average. The freshman from Australia was recovering from the flu, which he suffered over the weekend.

Chris Warren had 20 points for Ole Miss, and Polynice had 18. Kenny Williams registered a double double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Dwayne Curtis, Ole Miss' leading offensive player, was held to a season-low three points, but had 10 rebounds.

"I thought we competed better (tonight) but we had a little meltdown at the start of the second half," said Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings. "I thought the second half was more of our undoing, us throwing the ball away, not finishing, not executing, not boxing out."

In light of the difficulties being suffered by Ogilvy and Ross Neltner in the paint, Vanderbilt's offense relied almost entirely on its outside shooting. Unfortunately for the Commodores, Vandy made just 10 of a season-high 30 3-pointers, and shot a season-low 34 percent from the field.

Vanderbilt was just 4-4 from the free throw line for the game. Ole Miss, by comparison, was 11-17 from the line. The Rebels also out-rebounded Vanderbilt, 44-33.

"I don't know what's really going on," said Stallings of Ogilvy. "This may make me look dumber than I already look right now, but I didn't know he was that under the weather at Florida. Whether he wasn't as effective first, or he got sick first, I don't know -- but now he's lost confidence. Now he's not playing anything like what he was playing earlier in the season. I feel badly for him right now."

Vanderbilt returns to Memorial Gym for a Saturday contest against Auburn. The Tigers were upset tonight by SEC West rival LSU, 81-80.



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