After losing a heartbreaker at Mississippi State on Tuesday, Damian Jones wasn't about to let Vanderbilt spiral into a losing streak. The Commodore center had one of his best performances of the season in a 80-67 win over Georgia on Saturday.
Vanderbilt needed a balance restoring win after Mississippi State erased a 17-point deficit to shock the 'Dores four days earlier. The 'Dores saw a 16-point lead dwindle down to four, but Jones and the guard duo of Matthew Fisher-Davis and Wade Baldwin IV kept the team afloat and prevented another resume-killing loss. Jones finished the day with 15 points and a career-high 16 rebounds while Fisher-Davis and Baldwin combined for 30 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists.
The Commodores trailed 0-2 after a Derek Ogbeide jumper, but an ensuing 10-0 run gave Vanderbilt a lead it held all game. Jones's big afternoon included nine points and 10 rebounds in the first half as Vandy's advantage grew to as many as 16 points. A late Georgia rally cut that lead to 37-28 at halftime.
Vanderbilt avoided the turnover and rebounding woes that had sunk them in the past, but some head scratching foul calls and opportunistic Bulldog shooting helped keep Georgia close as the game wore on. UGA chopped Vandy's lead down to as few as four points with nine minutes left in the game. However, that was as close as they'd get, as Baldwin and Fisher-Davis combined to score or assist on the 'Dores next 10 points to push the home team's lead back to a dozen and close the door on the Bulldogs' comeback.
Vanderbilt improved to 16-11 and 8-6 in the SEC with the win. Georgia fell to 14-11 and 7-7 in league play. Vandy will return to the court to kick off the biggest stretch of its season on Tuesday when the Commodores travel to Florida.