It took the Commodores more than 11 minutes to score 10 points in the first half. In the second half, they did it in two.
That was the story of Tuesday's game, where Vanderbilt overcame a sloppy first half to overwhelm South Carolina in Columbia, 67-57. The 'Dores only scored 22 points in the first half, but their defensive vigor and some bad shots from the Gamecocks gave them a 22-12 lead at the halfway point of what looked to be an absolutely terrible game.
However, whatever Kevin Stallings said to this team at the half worked, as John Jenkins and company came out of the locker room on fire to start the second period. Brad Tinsley and John Jenkins drove holes through Carolina's press and opened up a 32-15 lead less than two minutes into the half. Though Damontre Harris and Bruce Ellington led an improved Gamecock team on offense, they had no answer for Vandy's deadly three-point shooting. The 'Dores finished 13-22 (59.1%) from behind the arc for the game.
Vanderbilt led by as many as 24 points late in the second half. Only a late South Carolina rally against Vandy's bench players kept this one close on the scoreboard.
Jenkins was particularly impressive from long range. He broke down the SC defense with long threes, connecting from 24 feet out and better with some backbreaking shots. He finished with 14 points - 12 via three-pointer - in a game that will end up on his highlight reel at the end of the season. Brad Tinsley also had a standout performance for Vanderbilt, pouring in 11 of the team's 22 points in the first half and adding nine assists. Jeffery Taylor also showcased his range, going 3-4 from three-point range and scoring 11.
The win was a strong statement for Vanderbilt. The team came out strong in the second half and was able to use their bench to not only protect their lead, but also extend it. Dai-Jon Parker's progression as a player continued, as he played solid on-the-ball defense and showed a much more reliable shot selection.
Commodore killer Bruce Ellington led South Carolina with 20 points, but it wasn't enough in a game where his teammates struggled. The rest of the Gamecocks shot 14-41 on the game, which was equal parts testament to Vandy's defense and some bad shot choices. The team fell to 0-2 in SEC play and 8-8 for the season.
Vanderbilt improved to 12-4 with the win and 2-0 in the SEC. The win was solid statement for a Commodore team that is still rebounding from some rough out-of-conference losses. They'll face Georgia this Saturday for a home game at Memorial Gym.