Gordon, Foster help Vanderbilt stop skidJan 19, 2008 - 9:55 PM NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Alex Gordon and Shan Foster helped Vanderbilt get back to its winning ways.
Gordon and Foster each scored 18 points as the 14th-ranked Commodores snapped a two-game losing streak by routing Louisiana State, 92-76, on Saturday in a Southeastern Conference matchup.
Vanderbilt (17-2, 2-2 SEC East) got off to the best start in school history by winning its first 16 games of the season. However, the Commodores dropped their previous two contests, including an embarrassing 80-60 defeat at No. 7 Tennessee on Thursday.
"We needed the win," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. "I was afraid that our confidence would be a little bit down. I liked the energy we played with, the aggressiveness and the way we pushed the ball."
The Commodores took charge midway through the first half. Trailing 24-23, Vanderbilt outscored the Tigers, 20-4, over a nine-minute stretch to open up a 43-28 lead.
"Vanderbilt is very good," LSU coach John Brady said. "It seemed like we had them guarded, and the ball still went in. They force you to play at a certain speed, and we don't have the maturity to sustain the high level of play for 40 minutes."
Ross Neltner started the run with a layup to give the Commodores the lead, and Gordon followed with two free throws.
Freshman A.J. Ogilvy knocked down a jumper and Jermaine Beal added a field goal to put Vanderbilt ahead, 31-24.
"I'm proud of the way they played," Stallings said. "Alex was very good and had a lot of balance. Then, you look down and Jermaine had nine assists and no turnovers. That's pretty good for a point guard."
The Tigers (7-11, 0-4 West) momentarily halted the run with a layup by Anthony Randolph, but the Commodores stayed hot. Gordon and Neltner each scored on layups, then after Ogilvy sank a pair of free throws, Foster and Darshawn McClellan nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to give Vanderbilt a 15-point lead.
"We focused on playing faster and more under control because turnovers can come when you play fast like that," Gordon said. "We've been doing a good job of it and that's our game plan. That is what we are going to keep doing."
LSU got a pair of free throws from Marcus Thornton and a 3-pointer by Alex Farrer in the final minute of the half to enter the locker room trailing 43-33.
Vanderbilt put the game away early in the second half, outscoring the Tigers 19-8 over the first six minutes to open a 62-41 lead. Foster and Gordon each hit a pair of 3-pointers during the run.
"Offensively, I thought our team was good enough to win today," Brady said. "I told the team before the game, that if we scored in the 70's we'd have a chance."
Neltner finished with 16 points while Beal added 12 and Ogilvy chipped in with 10 for Vanderbilt, which shot almost 50 percent (32-of-65) from the floor.
"I thought Ross was terrific," Stallings said. "He picked his spots, took the ball to the basket when he needed to and took the (outside) shot when he should. He is a very steadying influence on our team and he's one of our toughest guys. We knew he was going to bounce back. Fortunately, he did that today."
Thornton led the Tigers with a game-high 27 points. Randolph finished with 14 points and 18 rebounds, while Garrett Temple finished with 10.
As a team, LSU shot 48 percent (28-of-59) from the field in absorbing its seventh straight loss. The Tigers also held a 38-31 advantage on the boards.
"We shoot 55 percent (from the field in the second half) and outrebound them," Brady said. "Those are some positive stats for our team and we have to build on those."
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