It was tight, but in the end Joe Duffy's nine points led the Commodores to a tight 33 point win over Grambling State Wednesday night in Nashville.
Well, actually, it was a bit bleaker than that. The Tigers used a 14 point run to open up a 16-4 lead early in the game and trailed by only two points at the half, making a bid for their second win of the season. Vanderbilt was plagued by sloppy shooting and turnovers that let Grambling put a scare into a sparse Memorial Gym crowd early in the night. Despite some insane rebounding from Festus Ezeli and Lance Goulbourne, the 'Dores had trouble finishing around the basket and allowed their SWAC opponents to keep things close.
The fans' concerns multiplied when swingman Jeffery Taylor left the game with five minutes to go in the first half after absorbing an elbow to the eye in a collision with a Tiger player. Though Taylor didn't return, Vandy officials later told the media that the injury was simply a scratched cornea and that the talented junior shouldn't miss much time.
Any fears of an upset were alleviated in the second half, as the 'Dores caught fire and left Grambling in their wake, outscoring the Tigers 51-21. John Jenkins led the team in scoring with 22 points, while Ezeli and Goulbourne continued their assault on the glass with 12 rebounds each (nine offensive boards and 7-10 from the line for Fes!). However, the player of the game by any account was Joe Duffy, who clearly fed off the crowd's chants of "Fluffy" to put up a 3-3 shooting night. Only a pair of missed free throws kept him from scoring in double digits and being awarded AoG's inaugural "King of the Universe" award.
Next time, Duffman. Next time.