Vanderbilt defeated South Carolina by a score of 78-60 this afternoon. Although the Gamecocks held their own throughout most of the first half, the second half was all Vanderbilt. The Commodores avenged two straight losses to Carolina with the stylish win. John Jenkins led a balanced Vandy attack with 18, while Ramon Galloway led Carolina with 16 and 4 steals.
Although it's hard to be happy with the final score in this one, I think we saw some positives in this game. Carolina played one of its more balanced, strategically sound games of offensive basketball that it has had all season. We moved the ball well and had decent offensive production in the interior, particularly in the first half. One interesting stat that stands out is that Lakeem Jackson again led the team in assists. Lately Jackson has taken on something of a point forward role, which has allowed us to minimize the impact of his poor shooting and to create more plays for Bruce Ellington. The bad news is that Ellington, despite his 13 points, continues to take poor shots and shoot for a low percentage. However, the overall effect seems to be a more competent offensive basketball team.
Unfortunately, this improvement came against a Vandy team that is significantly more talented than we are and that was firing on all cylinders in this particular game. The Commodores were white hot from beyond the arc, shooting over 50%, and their considerably larger front line flexed its muscles on the offensive boards. I don't think we're yet at the point where we can beat Vandy in Nashville when the Commies come to play, at least not unless we play way, way over our heads. Hopefully the addition of Murphy Holloway and Damien Leonard will bring us closer to their level next season.
Next up is a home stand against Florida and UGA. These are going to be tough games, but if we can play like we did today again, I like our chances to do no worse than split.