Vandy comes to Columbia seeking season sweep of Gamecocks
Columbia, SC (Sports Network) – The 19th-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores own sole
possession of second place in the SEC East, and they will attempt to knock
off the South Carolina Gamecocks on the road this evening.
Vanderbilt has won three of its last four games to move to 19-9 overall,
including 9-5 against league competition. The Commodores knocked off Kentucky
in a 67-65 final on Sunday, and they have now beaten the Wildcats in four
straight meetings for the first time in over three decades.
Not much has gone right for South Carolina over the past two months, so the
fact that the team has won two of its last three games is somewhat exciting
for the fan base. The Gamecocks recorded a 76-63 decision over Ole Miss on
Saturday, and while they are still just 4-10 in league play, a 14-13 overall
record provides hope that the squad will have an opportunity to contend for
another NIT title.
Vandy beat South Carolina in a 78-68 final two weeks ago, cutting the
Gamecocks lead to 19-18 in the all-time series between the teams.
Two of the best players in the SEC are on the Vanderbilt roster, as forwards
Derrick Byars and Shan Foster continue to put up big numbers. Byars is scoring
16.8 ppg, and Foster checks in with 15.1 ppg. They get some help from teammates
Dan Cage (11.0 ppg) and Ross Neltner (10.0 ppg), both of whom are solid
offensive contributors. In the narrow victory over Kentucky, Byars scored 26
points, further strengthening his case to be the Southeastern Conference Player
of the Year. Foster pitched in 21 points for the Commodores, who were grossly
outplayed in a major statistical category. They shot just 41.4 percent from the
floor while allowing 58.1 percent shooting to Kentucky. Fortunately, Vanderbilt
forced 22 turnovers, the most obvious key to victory.
In the thrilling win over Ole Miss last time out, South Carolina shot 52.9
percent from the floor while limiting the Rebels to 37.3 percent efficiency.
Star guard Tre’ Kelley was brilliant once again for the Gamecocks, as he poured
in 28 points to go along with six assists. Bryce Sheldon posted 14 points on 4-
of-8 shooting from three-point range, while both Dominique Archie and Brandon
Wallace contributed 12 points and seven rebounds. Tonight’s contest marks the
final home game for both Wallace and Kelley, so expect emotion to play a role
in this contest. Kelley is racking up 18.7 ppg, and he is dishing out over five
assists per game as well. As for Wallace, he scores 10.1 ppg to go along with
his 9.4 rpg.