Over a month had passed since Lance Goulbourne's SEC Player of the Week award, and some fans had been wondering if he'd ever get back to full strength after a lackluster February. On Saturday, he let the rest of the SEC know that he's back.
Goulbourne set a career high for rebounds and recorded his third double-double of the season with 17 boards and 16 points as Vanderbilt used a big second half to defeat LSU, 90-69. The win was a big rebound for a Commodore team that looked listless in a loss to Tennessee just four days earlier. The victory ensured a winning SEC record for Vandy and secured their grip on second place in the SEC East.
LSU put together a solid upset bid before the Commodores came alive in the second half, defending well and scoring at will over the game's final 20 minutes. Vanderbilt trailed by as many as seven points in the first half and by two at the break. Jeffery Taylor's offense buoyed the visiting 'Dores as the junior located his game and got into the paint to keep Vandy alive early before Goulbourne, John Jenkins, and the rest of the team's starters came to life.
The Tigers were unable to keep up with Vanderbilt's firepower in the second half, as VU's balanced attack overwhelmed an understaffed LSU squad. The 'Dores used a 12-0 run early in the period to take a lead that they wouldn't relinquish, leading to a solid minute of Duffy time as the game wound down. Five players finished with 15 points or more in the shootout, with Taylor's 20 (despite a 7-12 performance at the free throw line) leading the way. Festus Ezeli finished with 15 points and six blocks, while Jenkins and Brad Tinsley combined for 33 points of their own.
It was the kind of performance this team needed after crapping the bed against Tennessee on Tuesday, and LSU was a willing participant when it came to getting the Commodores back on track. Saturday's win presented a valuable tune-up before next week's showdowns with Florida and Kentucky - a pair of games that will determine Vanderbilt's seeding in both the SEC and NCAA Tournaments. Despite the ugliness of the first half and the weak resume of their opponents, the Commodores' 90 point performance still managed to build some confidence in this team. They'll need it as the enter the most important stretch of their season.