Vanderbilt Comes Back to (Somehow) Beat Georgia, 64-56

If you wanted to know what Josh Henderson's follow-up gift to last year's Secret Santa will be for Jeff Taylor, here's a sneak peek*:

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Yep, it was that bad. And somehow, the Commodores prevailed.

Vanderbilt somehow overcame their worst half of the season to post their biggest road win of the season, coming back to stun Georgia 74-66 in Athens Wednesday night. The 'Dores shot just 30.4 percent from the field and endured a 2-24 shooting stretch from its four best players to open up the game, but took home the win thanks to the shooting of John Jenkins.

After dropping double-digit leads in road games against South Carolina and Tennessee, it was Vanderbilt's turn to pull off the upset against a team that was unable to find its rhythm in the second half. The Bulldogs went without a field goal over the final 9:54 of the game and allowed Vandy to erase a 14 point deficit to improve to 7-4 in the SEC. Georgia fell to 6-5 in league play and into a tie with Tennessee for third place in the SEC East.

Vanderbilt trailed big before John Jenkins began to heat up, exploding for all 21 of his points in the final 13 minutes of play and missing only two shots over that span. His long-distance shooting ignited an offensive outburst from both sides that ended in nine consecutive made baskets and an overwhelming feeling of dread for Vandy fans; despite catching fire, the 'Dores still trailed by 10 points with under nine minutes to play.

Fortunately for Vandy, that's when Georgia went cold. Vanderbilt finished the game on a 24-3 run to pick up a big road win and put a damper on the Bulldogs' NCAA Tournament hopes. The 'Dawgs needed another big win to solidify their resume and Vanderbilt presented their last highly-ranked home opponent of the season. The team shot just 36 percent from the field and was out-rebounded 30-47 by Vanderbilt.

Despite the slow start, Jenkins and Festus Ezeli came back to put up solid lines. Jenkins finished with 21 points and three assists while Ezeli put up 10 points, 12 rebounds, and seven blocks, effectively shutting down the Bulldogs in the paint. Rod Odom contributed a solid 11 points and five rebounds, while Jeffery Taylor finished with seven points and 13 rebounds despite playing as though every missed shot and spin move he took contributed $50 to cancer research at Carell Children's Hospital.

The Commodores squeaked by thanks to gritty play and an impressive showing in the clutch from Jenkins and Ezeli. It was the kind of game that few thought this team could win on the road after earlier SEC losses. Georgia presented a formidable test for this team, and after both teams fought through cold stretches that were downright hypothermia-inducing, Vanderbilt came out on top. If the 'Dores can take care of business at Auburn Saturday, this team will have almost guaranteed themselves a NCAA Tournament berth.

*Shot chart courtesy of CBSSports.

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