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Vanderbilt escapes Starkville with win

Jan 28, 2011 - 6:04 AM Starkville, MS (Sports Network) - Jeffery Taylor scored 25 points and John Jenkins supplied 21 points and six rebounds to lead 19th-ranked Vanderbilt to an 81-74 come-from-behind victory over Mississippi State at Humphrey Coliseum.

Festus Ezeli added 14 points while Lance Goulbourne contributed nine points and 12 boards for the Commodores (15-4, 3-2 SEC), who have won three in a row.

Ravern Johnson scored 19 points while Dee Bost contributed 18 points, six assists and five caroms for the Bulldogs (10-9, 2-3), who have dropped two straight and five out of their last seven.

Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings earned his first win in six trips to Starkville.

"I haven't known victory down here and we had to work very hard to get it," said Stallings.

Bost scored six and Kodi Augustus added a dunk and a jumper during a 10-1 spurt that put the hosts ahead 63-54 with 9:18 to go in the game.

Jenkins, however, hit three free throws and added a putback to put Vandy back on top, 69-66, with five minutes to play.

Johnson hit a pair at the line to temporarily give the Bulldogs a 72-71 edge with 3 1/2 minutes remaining before two Ezeli free throws and a driving layup by Goulbourne made it 75-72 Vandy 38 seconds later.

The teams traded buckets and after a Commodores miss, the Bulldogs had a chance to tie but Bost's long three-pointer from straight on spun out and Brian Bryant's putback attempt was blocked with just under a minute to go.

Following a Vandy turnover, Bryant's pass in the backcourt was stolen by Taylor, who hit a layup with 15 ticks left.

Two foul shots by Jenkins sealed the win with 6.5 seconds left.

"They made the plays you had to win the game. That is a sign of a very good basketball team," said Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury.

It was Vanderbilt's first road victory in more than a month.

"Every one of our games has been competitive and we've had chances to win, but we just have not finished like we should," said Stallings. "We put ourselves in the position to get the road win and made the plays we needed to."

Jenkins and Steve Tchiengang hit triples on consecutive possessions to give the Commodores a 15-9 lead, the biggest for either side in a back-and-forth first half, inside of 14 minutes to go before the break.

Johnson then hit trifectas that gave the Bulldogs leads of 19-18 and 29-26. Mississippi State then scored the final six points of the half to forge a 37-33 advantage at the intermission.

Game Notes

Taylor added five rebounds and three steals...He made 9-of-18 shots, including 3-of-9 from three-point territory...Jenkins was 5-of-11 from the floor and hit all nine of his foul shots in his 10th game this season with 20-or-more points...Brad Tinsley chipped in with eight points, five assists and four rebounds in the win...Augustus finished with 10 points and five boards in the loss...Vanderbilt leads the all-time series, 73-44, but is only 22-31 in Starkville.