Ogilvy, Foster spark VanderbiltMar 14, 2008 - 12:06 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Freshman A.J. Ogilvy and Shan Foster made sure that Vanderbilt did not have another early exit at the Southeastern Conference tournament.
Ogilvy scored a career-high 27 points and Foster added 26 Thursday to lead the 17th-ranked Commodores to a 93-82 victory over Auburn in the first round of the SEC tournament.
Alex Gordon had 14 points and Ross Neltner contributed 10 for Vanderbilt (26-6), which won a league tournament game for only the second time in four years and tied a school record for wins in a season.
"Our offense flowed pretty much the whole game," Commodores coach Kevin Stallings said. "We were able to get stops when we needed to and were able to expand our lead."
Vanderbilt struggled down the stretch, losing two of three conference games after defeating then-No. 1 Tennessee on February 26. The Commodores were coming off a 78-73 loss to Alabama that cost them a first-round bye here.
Vanderbilt also has had its problems at the tournament, winning just once in four tries in the four-year career of Foster, the SEC Player of the Year.
In addition, Vanderbilt had dropped six of its previous seven SEC tournament games against Auburn, including a 77-73 setback in the first round in 2005.
On Thursday, however, the Commodores shot a season-best 67 percent (14-of-34) from the field, including a blistering 76 percent (19-of-25) in the first half.
"It's always an interesting game when you play Auburn," Stallings said. "There are challenges. We were able to utilize our advantages today. I thought our team did a great job to move the ball around and get it inside."
But it was Ogilvy who got the Commodores off to a torrid start Thursday, connecting on his first three shots in the low post as Vanderbilt built a 14-4 lead.
"We definitely feel like we had an advantage with A.J.," Foster said. "Whenever he's playing the way he did today, it makes it easier for our guys to make shots. That was the case today."
Foster, who led the SEC by averaging 20.6 points per game, was almost at that mark by halftime. He scored 19 points in the first half on 6-for-9 shooting, including 5-for-7 from 3-point range.
Overall, the senior was 9-of-14 from the field and 6-for-9 from behind the arc to lead Vanderbilt to a matchup with Arkansas in the quarterfinals on Friday.
"I don't put any restrictions on Shan," said Stallings, who instructed the rest of the club not to shoot quick 3-pointers. "I told Shan if (the ball) feels round, shoot it."
While Foster was connecting from outside, Ogilvy, Vandy's big man, was dominating in the paint.
The Australian was nearly perfect from the field, connecting on 12-for-13 shots en route to surpassing his previous season high of 26 points against Lipscomb on December 8.
"As soon as we came out, I had good looks," Ogilvy said. "I played myself into good position. My team did a great job of getting the ball to me in scoring position."
"It kind of reminds me of playing in the backyard against my 6-year-old son," Auburn coach Jeff Lebo said of Ogilvy's dominance over his much smaller club.
Ogilvy's only miss was on an easy dunk attempt in the second half.
"I already jumped on him in the locker room," Stallings joked. "I told him that all he had to do was make a dunk and you're 13-for-13. He got a good laugh."
Auburn, however, was not laughing as Quan Prowell, the Tigers' leading scorer, had difficulty matching up with the 6-11 Ogilvy. Prowell got into foul trouble and was disqualified with 11:43 remaining.
"It's tough," the 6-9 Prowell said. "He's 6-11, 260 or 280 pounds. I'm just so small. There's just so much that I can do from keeping him from getting the ball."
After Prowell fouled out, Auburn (14-16) was forced to play small and Vanderbilt rolled. Frank Tolbert hit a jumper that brought the Tigers within 63-56 with 10:55 remaining before the Commodores put away the game with an 11-2 run.
"They came out in the second half and made a lot of shots," Foster said. "But we felt like we had a few advantages and were able to execute."
Rasheem Barrett scored 20 points and Tolbert finished with 17 for the Tigers, who ended the season with a five-game losing streak.
- SEC TOURNAMENT
NCAA BB SEC TOURNAMENT
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
AUBURN 36 46 82
VANDERBILT (17) 47 46 93 FINAL
Mar 13 5:22 PM
- SEC TOURNAMENT
NCAA BB AUBURN 36
(17) VANDERBILT 47 HALFTIME
Mar 13 4:10 PM
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