Vanderbilt Hangs On To 77-76 Win Over Marquette

Dec. 29, 2010

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NASHVILLE (AP) -- Andre Walker scored on a layup with 4.1 seconds left, and No. 24 Vanderbilt held off Marquette 77-76 Wednesday night in its first game since moving into the Top 25 this season.

Marquette (9-4) had the ball last. But Darius Johnson-Odom tripped trying to drive to the basket, losing the ball at the buzzer.

The Commodores (10-2) improved to 102-8 in non-conference play at home under coach Kevin Stallings despite leading scorer John Jenkins going 2-of-15 from 3-point range. He finished with 13 points. Jeff Taylor had a team-high 19 points, Brad Tinsley added 15, Festus Ezeli had 12 and Steve Tchiengang 10.

Jimmy Butler led Marquette with 15 points. Darius Johnson-Odom had 14, Dwight Buycks 13, Chris Otule 12 and Vander Blue 10.

This was only the fifth meeting between these programs and the first since 1974 when Marquette beat the Commodores in the NCAA tournament. The Golden Eagles were using the Southeastern Conference team and a hostile environment for a final tuneup before starting Big East play on Saturday morning hosting West Virginia.

Marquette had its chances, leading 37-34 at halftime and 47-40 three minutes into the second half on a dunk by Otule.

But Tschiengang answered with a 3 for Vanderbilt and ran back downcourt waving his hand at the crowd urging fans to their feet. That got the Commodores going, and Taylor, who hadn't scored since 8:19 left in the first half, dunked with 14:46 to go. He hit a 3-pointer with 13:05 that capped a 15-2 spurt for a 55-49 lead.

Jenkins, who missed his first nine 3-pointers, finally made his 10th to get the crowd back up. He also drew a foul on Johnson-Odom and finished off the four-point play for a 59-53 lead with 12:15 left.

Marquette wouldn't go away and pulled within a point three times before Byucks hit a long jumper to put the Golden Eagles up 76-75 with 19.5 seconds left. Walker's layup set up the final scramble.

Vanderbilt led by as much as 11 in the opening minutes with Taylor scoring early and often with some easy dunks. But Marquette finally got Butler, the Golden Eagles' leading scorer going. Ezeli's jumper made it 29-20 Vanderbilt with 5:28 left when the Golden Eagles answered with an 11-2 spurt during which Butler hit a 3. His jumper tied it at 31 with 2:35 left.

The teams swapped the lead three times, and Johnson-Odom finished off the half with a layup, a 3 from the top of the key and then a free throw in the final 1:53 to put Marquette up 37-34 at halftime.

Vanderbilt vs Marquette
December 29, 2010
Memorial Gymnasium

Vanderbilt Head Coach Kevin Stallings

Opening Statements:

"If you don't care who won, that was a terrific game. Congratulations to Marquette. They are very much a reflection of their coach. He's a hard-nosed, tough guy and that's how their team plays. In all of their losses, they've gotten behind like we had them behind tonight. Nobody, including Duke, can get rid of them. They play with determination and effort and we were fortunate to win."

"John Jenkins didn't have his normal shooting night and we were able to overcome that. I thought all of our guys played pretty well... I congratulate my team. Those guys competed really hard. It'll be nice to have Lance [Goulbourne] back, so we're looking forward to being at full strength."

On Vanderbilt's Final Possession:
"It was a play for Jeff [Taylor] to create something. We've been working on it all week and we've literally scored every time. He has five options - himself and the four others. A lot of good things had to happen tonight."

On Vanderbilt Forward Andre Walker's Return:
"It's great to have Andre back in light of not having Lance. We wouldn't have won if we didn't have both of them."

On Vanderbilt Guard John Jenkins:
"John's shot has gotten a little flat. We'll have to get him in and get it worked out. I don't think anyone will be leaving him open anytime soon."

Vanderbilt guard Brad Tinsley

On Vanderbilt's final possession of the game...

We had a play set up to where we put Jeff (Taylor) at the top of the key. He's so good at driving past people. It was a good situation for us. We had John (Jenkins) in one corner, me in the other, corner. He kind of broke his guy off. He could have had a shot, but he kicked it out to John. I saw a couple guys run at John so I came to the top of the key and then I saw that there was just one guy in the lane and two of our guys. Their big guy just stepped at Fes (Ezeli) and I saw Andre (Walker) open and hit him and made a big time layup."

On Andre Walker's performance tonight...
"He worked very hard to get back into shape and to get back in the flow of things. He played a great game today."

Vanderbilt forward Steve Tchiengang

On the emotion of the game...

Today is special for me, it's my birthday so I told the guys we had to win so it could be my birthday gift. That's where my emotion came from...

Vanderbilt forward Jeffery Taylor

On the difference between Vanderbilt and Marquette...

"Marquette is a really tough team. All credit to them for fighting back the whole game. We had them down by 8 or 10 a couple times in the game and they kept fighting back. A lot of credit to them but also a lot of credit to us for fighting them off. We showed a lot of toughness tonight and a lot of poise at the end of the game. Festus (Ezeli) hit those free throws, and the poise that Brad showed by finding Andre (Walker). It was a really great game. I can imagine what it was like to watch it on TV."

On playing a close to the end...
"Yeah, we're historically really good team at the end of game. We practice it all the time, we know what we're supposed to do and we're prepared for it. Being at home in Memorial Gym, you get that extra boost, that `magic' as they call it. It was good having our crowd behind us. We were ready for the end of the game.

On playing without Lance...
Like we've been doing for the last couple of games, when someone is out or not playing very well, other people have to step up. Brad (Tinsley) played amazing tonight, he played the way we've been waiting for him to play for most of the year. When someone else is down, we have guys on the team that can step up and make plays for us. When someone plays well for us, it's not a surprise. We see it every day in practice, so it might be a surprise to other people but it's not to us.

Marquette Head Coach Buzz Williams

Opening Statement:
"It was a great college basketball game. Kevin Stallings is arguably the most underrated coach in college. It's amazing to me that their team is just now in the top 25."

On the Final Plays of the Game:
"We called a time out to run side out of bounds for Darius [Johnson-Odom]. They called a timeout and put three [players] in the game; I subbed Chris [Otule] in and thought we did a good job. [Andre] Walker scored with 4.1 seconds left and Kevin [Stallings] called a timeout to see if there was a man on the ball. I then called a time out to reinforce that there was plenty of time and there was no need to rush the jumper, but had time to drive and win it. "

On Not Being Able to Get Off a Final Shot:
"It's frustrating to not get a last shot, but we will play another game Saturday morning and, I'm not a fortune teller, but it will be a one-possession game. Just like last year, we are going to play one- or two-possession games. It's not just the last shot that beats you. But, if you are talking about the morale of my team, we have won seven of the last nine one-possession games. We played 18 Big East games last year and three more in the conference tournament. Fifteen of those 21 games were one-possession games and we won seven of the last nine. We fight to win whether it's a one- or two-possession game. I have a determined team to get to that point. "

On Vanderbilt Forward Steve Tchiengang:
"I've known him since he came to the continental U.S. I saw him yesterday and bet he's gained 20 to 25 pounds since being here. He's grown into a really good player, he's versatile... and he had a good night. Those five offensive rebounds were huge."

Marquette Players

Jimmy Butler, Senior guard/forward

Talk a little about what you were trying to get on that last possession:
"We were looking to get DJ (Darius Johnson-Odum) off the screen. He just got tripped up. I thought he was fouled, but when you're on the road, we can't expect to get that call."

Your squad lost this game despite shooting 57 percent for the field
"Definitely, but we have to get more stops. We're giving up second opportunities. We won a lot of the possessions, but we gave up too many second opportunities, offensive rebounds, and loose balls. Those things just turn into another chance for Vanderbilt to score. They're a really good team and don't more help."

Talk about your team being so close in four early-season losses.
"I just hate losing by one possession, or two possessions. There's always too many what ifs (after a close loss). It's tough trying to dig back from a hole that we create."

Dwight Buycks, senior guard

Talk about your basket with :20 left that gave Marquette the lead
"I had to make a play for my team. It's nothing knew (to my teammates) because I'm a senior here and I'm supposed to make big plays like that. It gave us more momentum, but we just didn't get a stop at the end."

How tough is it to go through losses like this
"It's a learning experience, especially for the younger guys. It just tells how important any possession is in a game. "I think we are doing everything right, but we just have to put consecutive stops together."




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