The men's basketball team extracted a measure of revenge for last year's 69-76 upset loss against Western Kentucky by blowing out the Hilltoppers at Memorial Gym Wednesday night. In front of a spirited crowd that featured 2011 signee
Dai-Jon Parker Kedren Johnson (Sorry Kedren. You're just as important.), the Commodores left no doubt who the better team was, never trailing the entire game and opening up an eight-point lead after just four minutes of play.
John Jenkins led the 'Dores on offense, getting his shot off whenever he wanted and efficiently scoring 21 points on 13 shots - including five three-pointers. Festus Ezeli, aided by a mismatch that saw him paired against WKU's 6'6" Juan Patillo, was a force in the paint, adding 14 points on a perfect 7-7 shooting. Andre Walker added eight assists, proving his versatility and value to the team's offense even when he's not scoring.
One cause for concern was Jeffery Taylor's performance. In his second game since absorbing a brutal elbow against Grambling, the much-hyped junior still seemed dazed and a bit off his game. He shot just 4-13 on the night, committed five turnovers, and failed to put together a solid performance against a team that he has the skills to dominate. Taylor also looked a step slow in his last game against Appalachian State, and while his lapses seem to be related to the recent injury, it is certainly something to keep an eye on.
Once again, a complete team effort led the team to victory, as contributions from Jenkins, Ezeli, Walker, Taylor, Brad Tinsley, and Rod Odom all played key roles in the outcome. The win betters Vanderbilt's record to 6-1 on the season, and currently gives them the second best record in the SEC thanks in part to Florida's loss against Central Florida earlier in the night. If the 'Dores can beat Belmont this Saturday, they'll creep ever closer to a Top 25 ranking for their marquee matchup with #8 Missouri next week.