The 2011-12 basketball season was the 60th season in the history of Memorial Gymnasium. To commemorate the occasion, VUCommodores.com recalled 60 of the most memorable moments from men's and women's basketball games played on Vanderbilt's home court. The moments are listed in chronological order below.
Because there is no way to capture every historical moment in a list of 60, we listed additional memorable moments.
Recalling 60 Seasons at Memorial Gym | Other Moments
Favorite Fan Moments | Submit Your Memorable Moments
Memorial Magic Video | Memorial Gym Over Time
In a rare playoff game at a neutral site, Kentucky defeated LSU, 63-56, in front of a sold-out crowd on March 9, 1954.
The playoff took place after LSU had refused to play Kentucky during the regular season and ended up tying atop the SEC standings.
Although the game was played at a neutral site, it looked very much like a Kentucky home game with an estimated 95% of the fans in attendance pulling for the Wildcats.
Wrote the Nashville Banner's Dudley Green about the Kentucky fan base: "Nashville fans received their first introduction to Kentucky supporters. The local fan flock marveled at the Wildcat fanaticism. Never has the Memorial Gymnasium resounded as it did when the UK cheerleaders asked, 'All for Kentucky stand up and holler.' "
Despite Kentucky's decisive advantage in the seats, the Wildcats were unable to put much distance between themselves and LSU.
Kentucky led 32-28 at halftime, but the game was tied after three quarters and it was the first time all season that kentucky had to come from behind to win.
"We were losing our poise," Kentucky Head Coach Alolph Rupp said. "until we went into our all-court press. It upset LSU so, we gained the upper hand in short order."
Maybe even more rare than the existence of the playoff game was what took place after Kentucky won. By winning the game, Kentucky were extended the bid to play in the NCAA Tournament, but the Wildcats declined the bid and LSU ended up representing the SEC in the NCAA Tournament.
Kentucky declined to accept the bid because of the ineligibility of Cliff Hagan, Frank Ramsey and Lou Tsioropoulos to participate. The three players had finished their work for a degree and as postgraduates were eligible for SEC play, but ineligible for NCAA competition.
Kentucky issued the following statement after the game:
The University of Kentucky basketball team has just won the championship of the Southeastern Conference. Each and every member o this team meets in full the eligibility rules of the Conference. Unhappily, Conference rules are not identical with NCAA tournament rules and the NCAA has refused to permit three members of Kentucky's team to participate in the NCAA tournament.
The Athletics Board and athletics officials at the University of Kentucky doubt that in the absence of the three boys, its team would be the strongest in the Southeastern Conference. Accordingly, the Athletics Board has unanimously voted that the University of Kentucky withdraw from the NCAA tournament and request the Conference to designate some other team to represent this district.
With Kentucky refusing the invitation, LSU Head Coach Harry Rabenhorst accepted it.
"Don't you think we did the right thing in withdrawing from the NCAA tournament? Our conference should send the most representative team, and without our three boys, we were not that." Rupp said. After the game, Rupp had to be treated for nervous exhaustion and was taken to his hotel room where visitors were barred.
Frank Ramsey led Kentucky with 30 points and Bob Pettit led LSU with 19 points. Kentucky finished the season 25-0, while LSU was 21-3 overall.
"I thought Ramsey was the difference," Rabenhorst said. "I'm proud of my boys. They played their hearts out. With a break or two, we might have won. But it was Ramsey who broke our back. I've always contended he was one of the greatest players in the country. His play bore that out."
There were 7,500 fans packed into Memorial Gym for the game in which each school received $8,000 for the playoff. Vanderbilt got 10 percent of the gross receipts, plus program and concession rights.
1954 Championship Game Footage | All the Way for Doc | Trophy Presentation
The same year tiny Milan High School defeated powerful Muncie Central to claim an unthinkable state title in Indiana, Tennessee had its own memorable state championship game played at Memorial Gym.
The 42-40 come-from-behind-victory by West High School over LaFollette in 1954 did not spawn a multi-million dollar movie like Milan's state title did with the movie Hoosiers, but it had all the storylines of a cinematic thriller.
Throughout the entire season, the motto of West High's basketball team was "All the way for Doc." It was a motto in reference to beloved principal [W.H.] Doc Yarbrough, who was retiring after the year. During the state tournament, doctors ordered Yarbrough to stay home because of a heart condition. But in the end Yarbrough could not resist the urge to be with his school's team when they needed him the most.
As Yarbrough sat at home listening to legendary broadcaster Larry Munson call the state championship game, he grew more and more antsy by the minute as the seconds ticked off and West's state title hopes looked less likely.
West trailed 23-12 in the second period and 35-32 at the start of the fourth quarter. It was during the third quarter that Yarbrough made up his mind that he had to be at the gym on this snowy night to support his school. His arrival at the start of the fourth quarter was something those in attendance will never forget.
As he entered the gym, he was greeted by a standing ovation from the West fans as he made his way to a seat. Doc's entrance drew the attention of West's team, which looked up from its huddle to see Yarbrough. The arrival of Yarbrough seemed to turn the fortune for West, which charged ahead behind a rabid cheering section that chanted "All the way for Doc."
With 1:37 to play, future Vanderbilt guard Jimmy French made a hook shot that put West in front, 40-39, for its first lead since 2-0. LaFollette tied the game on a free throw, but it was the 5-foot-7 French who put West up again for good by sinking a pair of free throws to make it 42-40. LaFollette would miss on its final possession and French rebounded the ball and dribbled out the last 19 seconds.
As the horn sounded the West cheering section changed its chant to "We did it for Doc." West had just won its 14th straight game and its fourth state title. Neither team shot particularly well with West making 35 percent of its shots and LaFollette making 36 percent.
"We didn't have to say anything to each other when he came in," French said of Yarbrough's appearance. "The student body's cheering said it for us and we were ready from then on."
Days later, Yarbrough would say that he actually went to the game because he believed he needed to be there to support the players after the team lost.
"When I left home to go over there, I was just going to console them," Yarbrough said. "I got there just before the third period ended and still didn't think they could do it. But, they had the heart and that did it."
After the game, West Head Coach Joe Shapiro praised the team.
"The boys didn't ask how many they'd scored after a ball game," Shapiro said. "They always wanted to know `how many did my man make?' You've got to give the kids plenty of credit. We didn't have a George Kelley, or Billy Joe Adcock, or Bob Dudley Smith for us. The boys simply did it on courage, inspiration and with the all-out help of the student body."
There were 6,000 fans in attendance that night.
"I knew deep down that we would come back," French added. "I just knew we would."
In response to the atmosphere at the game, Bob Starr of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal wrote that "it just goes to show that 1,000 can beat five!"
No. 7/8 Vanderbilt scored more points on Kentucky than any other SEC team ever had as the Commodores defeated No. 3/4 Kentucky 81-73 on on Jan. 28, 1956 to move up to No. 2 in the nation - the program's highest all-time ranking.
A record crowd of 7,500 fans were in attendance to watch the Commodores upset Adolph Rupp and the Wildcats and improve to 14-1 overall. Kentucky fell to 10-3 overall.
"They were simply terrific," Vanderbilt Head Coach Bob Polk said. "There's not much else to say except they were determined to win and did."
Babe Taylor, who played high school ball at Frankfurt, scored 28 points to lead the Commodores. Al Rochelle, a native of Guthrie, Ky., led Vanderbilt with 24 points and made 16-of-18 free throws. Bobby Thym (pictured) added 15.
"Seldom have I seen a player pick up a team as Al Rochelle did Vanderbilt," Rupp said. "He was tremendous. Vanderbilt was nine points down when Rochelle drove through our defense and hit a basket. That seem to set Vanderbilt on fire. From that point on Vanderbilt outscored us 40-25. Certainly Taylor's shooting hurt us. He's sensational against our club. But Rochelle was the man who beat us."
The game was televised by stations in Louisville, Lexington and Nashville.
Roy Skinner's life would change forever on Nov. 7, 1958 when he hopped into a car alongside Vanderbilt Head Coach Bob Polk for a recruiting trip to Paducah, Ky., to see Don Ringstaff play. Polk would suffer a heart attack on the trip and Skinner would drive him to the hospital, where Polk would stay for the next three months. With Polk sidelined, Skinner became interim coach.
Almost two months later, at just 28-years old, Skinner found himself on the bench for his first signature win as the Commodores defeated No. 1 Kentucky 75-66 on Jan. 6, 1959.
"It wasn't really a problem," said Skinner of coaching in such an important game at such a young age. "Coaching is the same on all levels - high school, college and so on. You just adjust to what the situation is at the time."
Kentucky was the defending national champions and had won 16 in a row, including 11 straight that season.
But Skinner and the Commodores picked this night to rain on the Wildcats' parade in front of 7,500 fans packed into Memorial Gym.
"It was simply wonderful," Skinner said. "There's no substitute for old-fashioned hustle and our men have shown more and more of it every game this year."
Vanderbilt led by 19 points, but had to hold on at the end with clutch free throws by Jim Henry (pictured), who made 10-of-12 freebies down the stretch and finished with 29 points. Fifteen of Henry's points came in the first half.
"We caught Kentucky feeling a little fat," Skinner said. "We had them on the ropes before they knew what had happened. We shot well but we should have. Our shots were real close in."
After the win the fans stormed the court and carried Skinner and some of the Commodores to the locker room.
"Vanderbilt played a great game," Kentucky Head Coach Adolph Rupp said. "They deserved to win. We were flat and Vanderbilt took full advantage of it. I warned that we were living on borrowed time. It now remains to be seen if we can rebound."
Polk would return to coach the Commodores again the next season. Skinner would get his shot as Vanderbilt's head coach in 1962 and would hold the seat until 1976 when he quietly announced his retirement hours after the team had lost an overtime game against Alabama. He would finish his career with a school-record 278 victories.
With two of the greatest individual performances in Vanderbilt history occurring on the same night, Vanderbilt defeated No. 3 Duke 97-92 in overtime on Dec. 11, 1963.
The Commodores got a career-high 39 points from John Ed Miller and Clyde Lee (pictured) snagged 26 rebounds and 21 points to lift the Commodores to victory. Miller's point total was one short of a school record held by Jim Henry and Lee's rebounding total tied the school record.
Miller also set whats was then a school record with 17 field goals and scored 10 of the team's 12 points in overtime. The game appeared as if it was over in regulation when Miller buried a long jump shot, but Duke's Jeff Mullins responded with a buzzer-beater to tie the game.
"We won and that's the thing that is really important. I had some good games in high school, but there has never been anything like this." John Ed Miller said.
Bob "Snake" Grace added 16 rebounds and combined with Lee to outrebound the entire Duke team in the first half as the Commodores led 48-35 at the break.
"Man, it's so great I can't stand it," Vanderbilt Head Coach Roy Skinner said. "I was sitting over there on the bench with five fouls and almost had heart failure. The best ones are over Kentucky," Skinner said. "But if this team had been No. 1 instead of two or three, it might be different."
John Ed Miller connected on a jump shot from the top of the foul circle with two seconds to play, giving No. 6 Vanderbilt an 85-83 win over No. 1 Kentucky on Jan. 6, 1964.
"It was just about like we planned, Miller said. "We knew we had six seconds left when we threw it in. I was supposed to drive, but when they dropped back, I just jumped and shot. It felt good and I thought it was in all the way. I even started to jump up before it went through the goal."
Miller's basket came 10 seconds after Kentucky evened the game. The game caused so much excitement that fans tore down the basketball net at Memorial and presented it to the team in the locker room.
"That last shot came almost as exactly as planned," Skinner said. "We set it up for John Ed to drive ... or shoot from the circle if they dropped back. That's just what happened."
Roger Schurig and Clyde Lee combined for 38 points, but it was Miller's shot that would be remembered by those who watched on WSM-TV or the 7,324 in attendance.
Vanderbilt led by as many as 12 points in the first half, but Kentucky came charging back and led 79-75 with 5 minutes to go.
"You gotta hand it to these Vanderbilt boys," Kentucky Head Coach Adolph Rupp said. "We had them beat and they took it away from us."
A little bit of the luster was taken off the game because both teams lost for the first time that season in its previous game before the anticipated meeting. Both entered with 10-1 record. Vanderbilt had lost to Tennessee in its previous game and Kentucky had lost to Georgia Tech.
However despite the loss by both teams, their rankings remained intact for the game because it was played on a Monday night before the rankings came out. The next day, Kentucky had dropped to No. 2 and Vanderbilt was No. 7. Vanderbilt's triumph was not included in the rankings.
Schurig led all scorers with 23 points and Lee scored 15 points and had 25 rebounds.
"A tremendous effort," Skinner said. "We worked hard all night and deserved the game."
John Ed Miller sank two free throws with 10 seconds to play to sink Kentucky, 91-90, on Feb. 16, 1965. The win helped pave the way for Vanderbilt's first SEC Championship that season.
Miller (pictured) finished the game with 30 points and Clyde Lee scored 33 to move Vanderbilt into a tie for first with Tennessee at 9-1 in the SEC.
Miller won the game on a last-second field goal the previous year and canned 12 in a row from the foul line in this game. Dating to previous game against Tennessee he had made 19 in a row.
"He had a fine game in the Sugar Bowl against Louisville," Skinner said of Miller. "But he hasn't played like this all season. This was truly a great one."
After Miller's free throws put Vanderbilt up 91-88. Kentucky's Terry Mobley scored with four seconds remaining to pull Kentucky within one. Miller then took the ball out of bounds and watched the final seconds count down before before throwing the ball halfway to the ceiling in celebration.
"I had to do something after that performance at Tennessee Saturday night," Miller said. "I think this was one of my best games, but I doubt if it was as good as against Duke a year ago."
The game was played in front of a capacity crowd at Memorial Gym. There was so much build up for this meeting with the Wildcats that Vanderbilt sold reserved tickets for $1 to watch the telecast of the game on a large-screen projection in Neely Auditorium. All 1,100 available seats were reserved seating and 750 fans attended.
Vanderbilt trailed by 14 after 10 minutes of play before rallying back for its fourth win in the previous five meetings with Kentucky. The win marked the first time, Vanderbilt had ever defeated Kentucky twice in the same season.
Vanderbilt was 19-of-24 from free-throw line and Kentucky was 10-of-14 from the charity stripe.
No player in Vanderbilt's storied history has been more beloved than former center Clyde Lee. The local boy from David Lipscomb High School graduated from Vanderbilt as the school's all-time leading scorer and rebounder and remains tops all-time on the rebounding list.
Lee's play lifted the Commodores on the court and their popularity off it. Record crowds poured into Memorial Gym during his career, leading to the addition of the "Balconies Clyde Lee Built."
To commemorate Lee on his final home game, Vanderbilt's meeting against Mississippi State on March 5, 1966 was deemed "Clyde Lee Day."
Vanderbilt lost the game 92-90, but the game was secondary to the tribute to Lee that day. Before the game, trophies were presented and dignitaries summoned praise on Lee before 9,212 fans in attendance. That day, the Nashville Banner dedicated its entire front page to Lee and his Vanderbilt career.
"I wouldn't take anything for it," Lee said of his career. "It is something I will remember forever, but right now I'd have to say that I am happy it is over. Once you do something it keeps building up and you are expected to match it or improve it. The pressure has been terrific."
After the game Lee's jersey was retired and would be placed in the Memorial Gym trophy case.
Other seniors recognized that day were All-SEC guard Keith Thomas, forward Ron Green, reserve forward Wayne Calvert. The Commodores were ranked No. 5 nationally and finished 23-4 overall and 13-3 in the SEC, but were ineligible to compete in either of the two national tournaments because of NCAA and SEC regulations.
Mississippi State's Paul Smith made two free throws with six seconds left to win the game for Mississippi State, who was 14-11 overall and 10-6 in the SEC. The game was televised regionally.
Vanderbilt's Perry Wallace became the first African-American varsity basketball player in the SEC in 1967. Wallace made his Commodore debut on the road as Vanderbilt defeated SMU, 88-84, in overtime on Dec. 2. Two days later, Wallace played in his first game at Memorial Gym as the Commodores defeated Auburn, 78-65 on Dec. 4, 1967.
Wallace remained poised throughout his Vanderbilt career despite hearing threats and taunting along the way. On this historic night, Wallace started and finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Vanderbilt was beaten on the boards in the first half, but came to life in the second half behind Wallace, who had three offensive tip-ins.
"I felt my composure was better tonight until I got hit," said Wallace, who was hit in the back of the head by an Auburn player, but the officials did not catch it. "I got another blow. Then things sort of leveled off. They come with the game and later on I wasn't upset by them."
Tom Hagan led Vanderbilt with 28 points in the win.
The game was Vanderbilt's earliest SEC opener since 1942. During the offseason, two balconies were added to the south side of the gym, which increased capacity of the arena to 11,200. Every seat was sold in season tickets before the opening game.
Years later, Wallace would reflect on the approach he took as a trailblazer in the SEC.
"Willing to take insults, willing to be in tense situations and not react precipitously, demonstrate competence and trustworthiness, be a worthy American," Wallace said. "That was kind of the strategy and I never broke out of it."
Vanderbilt defeated its second top 10 team in a span of four days when Tommy Hagan hit a 25-footer with two seconds remaining in overtime to lift Vanderbilt over No. 8 Davidson, 81-79, on Dec. 12, 1967.
The Commodores rallied from 13 points points down with five minutes to play to knock off Lefty Driesell's Davidson team and improve to 4-0 on the season. Three days earlier, Vanderbilt defeated No. 5 North Carolina, 89-76.
Hagan (pictured) scored a team-high 21 points and had a chance to win the game in regulation, but his 15-footer fell off the rim as the horn sounded.
He would find redemption with his game-winner in overtime that brought fans rushing onto the court.
"I didn't have time to think," said Hagan of his final shot. "I had nothing on my mind except to try and spot somebody open in close. When I didn't find anyone, I guess it was just instinct for me to shoot with the clock running out. I wasn't thinking at all about the one I'd missed at the end of regular time."
Davidson was in front for almost all of the game until a layup by Bob Warren tied it at 68 with less than six minutes to play. The win was Vanderbilt's sixth consecutive overtime triumph over a two-year stretch.
"We played well enough to win, and we played our type of game," Driesell said. "We wanted to run with Vanderbilt and we did. It all boiled down to the fact that Vanderbilt got the last shot and we didn't I'd say everybody got their money's worth."
The 11,200 fans in attendance certainly did.
"They never quit battling. That's why they won," Vanderbilt Head Coach Skinner said.
The game was also very heated with Davidson's Bill Wise being assessed with a technical foul for protesting a charging call. Driesell also drew warnings from officials and at one points Davidson's trainer, Tom Crouch, and a fan had to be separated by a policeman.
Perry Wallace led VU with 10 rebounds in the win.
"Scared? You bet I was scared," said Skinner of the team's chances of winning. "I was scared before it started, scared while we were playing and scared, I guess, right up until Hagan hit that winner.
"I knew Davidson would be tough and I tried to impress this on the squad. It was almost like it was with us when North Carolina came in here Saturday night. They were rated No. 5 in the country and we were all wound up and ready to play. I knew Davidson would be looking down our throats when that No. 3 rating came out."
In the highest scoring game in SEC history, Vanderbilt defeated Ole Miss 130-112, on Dec. 22, 1970. The 130 points scored by Vanderbilt remain a school record as well. In total there were 16 individual and school records were set.
"This one they'll be talking about for a long time," Vanderbilt Head Coach Roy Skinner said. "It's a great feeling just to cut loose. And, we cut loose tonight."
In the game, Ole Miss' sophomore John Neumann set the Memorial Gym scoring record with 53 points on 23-49 shooting. His point total surpassed the previous high of 42 points by LSU's Pete Maravich, Kentucky's Louie Dampier and Vanderbilt's Bo Wyenandt.
"Neumann is a far better all-around player than Pete Maravich ever was," Vanderbilt co-captain Thorpe Weber said. "He's unselfish and he's a gentleman on the court. He's also a remarkable shooter."
Vanderbilt scored a school-record 76 points in the second half to overcome a 60-54 halftime deficit. Vanderbilt also made a record 52 field goals.
Seven Commodores scored in double figures. Center Van Oliver finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds. Ray Maddox had 16 points and 16 rebounds.
The win helped keep the Commodores in first place as 15,400 fans looked on in amazement.
The game was at such a fast pace that at one point official Dick Pace was on his knees wiping water from the foul lane when Vanderbilt drove to the basket above his head.
"We caught this bunch on the wrong night," Ole Miss coach Cob Jarvis said. "They wore us down on the boards and hit everything in sight!"
Vanderbilt shot 51.5% for the game, while Ole Miss shot 50.5%. Neumann scored 26 of his points in the first half.
The same day George Foreman defeated Joe Frazier to claim the heavyweight title with a second round TKO in Kingston, Jamaica, Vanderbilt freshman Joe Ford delivered a knockout of his own to Kentucky.
A native of Mayfield, Ky., Ford (pictured) was fouled and made two free throws with three seconds left to deliver a 76-75 win over Kentucky on Jan. 22, 1973.
"There was a great deal of pressure when I shot that first one, but once we had the game tied, the pressure wasn't so bad on the winning shot," said Ford, who was also recruited by Kentucky. "I didn't have any choice but to shoot because I knew how short the time was getting. The foul call was a good one, because we collided as I was shooting."
After Ford's free throws, Kentucky attempted a long shot at the basket, but it was off target.
Vanderbilt had a three point lead, 74-71, after 7-foot-4 Steve Turner blocked a shot by Jim Andrews and caught it in mid-air to give VU an opportunity to stall. However, Vanderbilt's Bill Ligon turned the ball over and he then misfired on a shot. The crack was all Kentucky needed as Jimmy Dan Conner made two free throws and Ronnie Lyons made an 18-footer to put Kentucky up, 75-74, with 13 seconds remaining. Ford would do the rest after getting fouled on a drive to the basket.
"We thought they would press us, so we set up to get a shot as quickly as possible," Vanderbilt Head Coach Roy Skinner said. "Thirteen seconds can evaporate mighty quickly. We wanted to penetrate as far in as possible and Ford finally wound up with the shot."
Vanderbilt trailed by as many as 18 points before rallying back.
"I can't say I wasn't worried in the last half when we trailed by as many as 18 points," Skinner said. "But we were never short on effort. We stood tall tonight on effort and plain ol' guts. Joe Ford was just tremendous under all that pressure, but that's typical of Ford. He responds to pressure."
A crowd of 16,111 were in attendance for the game, which at the time was the largest crowd ever to see an SEC game. After Kentucky's final shot was off, the crowd stormed the court and carried Ford off on their shoulders. The win had snapped a five-game losing streak to the Wildcats, who were under the direction of first-year Head Coach Joe B. Hall.
"When I was on top of those people, I didn't know whether I'd get out alive," Ford said. "What a tremendous crowd."
A layup by sophomore Butch Feher carried Vanderbilt to a 73-72 win over No. 14 Alabama on Jan. 5, 1974.
Feher's layup came after he had missed the second shot of a one-and-one to tie the game with 26 seconds left. Alabama snagged the missed foul shot, but Vanderbilt's Terry Compton knocked the ball away from the Tide's Charles Russell and Feher beat everyone to the loose ball.
Feher then dished the ball to Joe Ford who drove into the lane and found Feher again open under the basket. Feher would make the layup with five seconds remaining on the clock.
"I had to get it in the hole," Feher said. "After a bad pass in the clutch and that missed foul shot, I felt lucky to get another chance."
After Feher's layup, Alabama's Charles Cleveland attempted a final shot that hit off the back of the rim and was tipped out by Jan van Breda Kolff as Vanderbilt fans rushed the court.
"I didn't try to rebound," van Breda Kolff said. "I wasn't sure I could get to it. I just slapped it as hard as I could fearing that Douglas or Russell would bat it in the goal. Considering how important this game is in the conference race, this has to be the biggest win since I've been here."
The win came in the SEC opener for both teams and avenged Vanderbilt's home loss to Alabama the previous year. That lost may have cost Vanderbilt the SEC title since it ended the season one game back of Kentucky in the standings.
"I knew we had it.," Vanderbilt Head Coach Roy Skinner said. "When I looked at the ball rolling toward me and saw one second on the clock. We figured they would go to Cleveland and I personally was afraid he would make it. It even looked good in the air ... but the great slap of the rebound by Jan looked even better. Gosh what a game."
Vanderbilt trailed by 11 in the first half and were never ahead until Feher's game-winning layup.
"I felt like the loose balls were critical all night and they beat us to this one just like some others," Alabama Head Coach C.M. Newton said.
"It was a game of a lot of loose ball," Skinner added. "And, the scramble before we got the winning field goal was right in front of me. It's a wonder I didn't try to help."
The win proved to be very important in Vanderbilt winning its second SEC Championship.
Compton finished with 22 points and van Breda Kolff added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The Crimson Tide were undefeated heading the Nashville and the game was of enough significance that Sports Illustrated sent a writer to Nashville to chronicle the game, which was deemed the biggest of the week.
After the game, van Breda Kolff was quoted by Sports Illustrated as saying, "We realize now that Skinner is a better coach than we thought he was. The first couple of years here, I wondered at times. We used to blame a loss on the coaching staff. Now if we lose, we're going to blame it on ourselves."
There are few games Vanderbilt wanted more than it did its game against LSU on Feb. 11, 1974. The previous meeting between the two schools resulted in a brawl in Baton Rouge and emotions were extremely high for the rematch in which the Commodores won 91-88.
Earlier that season, Vanderbilt lost 84-81 at LSU (Jan. 12) in a game that was overshadowed by a bench-clearing fight.
In the game at LSU, Jan van Breda Kolff was pushed down by LSU's Wade Evans after trying to draw two charges. As the two traded punches, LSU's Collis Temple ran off the bench and kicked van Breda Kolff in the back. Also getting involved in the fracas was former Commodore Bob Dudley Smith. Smith was on press row for the game and he jumped the table and got into the mix. Smith, who had been in New Orleans attending a convention, was arrested for his involvement in the fight, which occurred with just 1:08 remaining. Smith was charged with two counts of simple battery and resisting arrest.
As the fight ensued, LSU's crowd of 14,137 became rowdy and began throwing debris onto the court as it inched closer to the playing surface. LSU would win the game and hand the sixth-ranked Commodores their first loss of the season.
All the extra curricular events in Baton Rouge led to one of the most hostile atmospheres in Memorial Gym's history. Ron Bargatze, an assistant for the Commodores that season, called the game the "most electric atmosphere he has ever experienced at Memorial Gym."
When teams arrived for the pregame warmup, the student section chanted, "block that kick, block that kick," in reference to Temple, who kicked van Breda Kolff (pictured) in an earlier game. Many students wore $3 t-shirts, which said "Go To Hell LSU." Other fans had obscenities printed on the back, which had LSU's Collis Temple as the main subject.
Adding to the drama of the game, a crank caller from off-campus called in a death threat at halftime to LSU Head Coach Dale Brown if he played Temple in the second half. After receiving the threat, campus police informed Brown, Vanderbilt Head Coach Roy Skinner and game officials. No one else was informed of the threat.
"I was met at our dressing room door by a dozen uniformed and armed policemen and campus security people," Brown said. "They informed me of a call threatening the life of Collis Temple."
To start the second half, Brown conferred with Skinner and both referees, Wayne Smith and Ken Lauderdale at the scorer's table. The meeting was the only public indication that something unusual had taken place at the half.
After the game, Vanderbilt's head of campus security, Bob Blankenship, said the caller's threat stated, "I have something to get even about with Collis Temple and I am coming over there with a pistol."
Blankenship said the threat would have been handled differently had an assistant officer realized the game was at halftime.
"I really think if he (the assistant officer) had known the game was at halftime, we would simply have ordered a security check and the threat would not have created such a commotion."
No one in the crowd of 15,581 was aware of the threat at the time, and were treated to an outstanding basketball game that came down to the wire.
With just three seconds remaining, Vanderbilt's Joe Ford stepped to the free-throw line and hit two free throws to help seal the Commodores' win. The free throws came shortly after Ford had vomited near the Commodore bench.
"I guess there was too much else going on for anyone to pay any attention to me," Ford said. "But, I became ill and vomited right in front of our bench while Butch (Feher) shot his free throws. I was shakier then than later when I went to the foul line with three seconds to play," Ford said after playing 40 minutes with a heavy cold.
"I felt better when I looked up and Butch had made both shots," Ford said. And, I was much improved when the ones I shot went in."
Van Breda Kolff led the team with 16 points and 7 rebounds. Lee Fowler scored 15 points. The win was Vanderbilt's 19th of the season.
Vanderbilt wrapped up its first SEC title since 1965 when the Commodores topped Kentucky 71-69 on March 2, 1974. During the game, Vanderbilt had learned that Florida upset Alabama in Gainesville, meaning the win would claim at least a share of the SEC. Vanderbilt would have won the title outright over Alabama that year, but lost at Florida to close the regular season.
The Commodores defeated the Wildcats, but the game could have just as well gone to Kentucky. Vanderbilt trailed by 10 points on two occasions in the first half and the Wildcats had a shot at the buzzer to tie the game and send it to overtime. But Kentucky freshman Marion Haskins, who was playing in the first variety game of his career, missed a 10-foot jumper at the buzzer as the Commodores won.
"We had two points more than we needed .. and does it feel great to win," Vanderbilt senior Terry Compton said.
Vanderbilt was led by Jeff Fosnes (pictured), who scored 24 points and Butch Feher, who scored 16 points in the last 20 minutes to finish with 18 for the game. Senior reserve Bill Ligon had six points and Lee Fowler scored eight.
The win gave Vanderbilt a 23-2 overall record and 15-2 SEC mark. The 23 wins were the second most in school history, bested only by the 1964-65 season when Vanderbilt had 24 wins. The Commodores would represent the SEC in the NCAA Tournament that season because it had defeated Alabama twice.
"I feel like a ton of pressure has been lifted from my shoulders," Compton said. "It has been my dream since childhood when I used to shoot in my backyard up in Horse Cave (Ky.) to go to the NCAA Tournament. Now it has come true and it's really hard to put into words how great it feels. We knew all along we were good enough to be champions. It's very satisfying to prove it."
To help get the Commodores back in the game, Head Coach Roy Skinner implemented the shuffle cut offense . Vanderbilt scored its final points on two foul shots by Fosnes with 41 seconds left. The announced attendance was 15,581.
An ice storm on Groundhog's Day may have gridlocked Nashville's roads, but it did not stop Vanderbilt from playing its game against Ole Miss, which was won on a 35-footer at the buzzer by Dicky Keffer. Keffer's shot hit the bottom of the net as the buzzer sounded and dropped Ole Miss by one, 61-60, on Feb. 2, 1976.
With 11 seconds remaining, Ole Miss scored to go up 60-59. After a timeout by Vanderbilt, the Commodores advanced the ball past mid-court, where Keffer (pictured) passed it to Jeff Fosnes. As Fosnes rose up to take the final shot, he realized he could not get it off over the two defenders on him, so he passed it back to Dicky while in mid-air. Keffer was caught off guard by the pass back to him, but he gathered himself enough to fire home the game-winner.
"When I passed the ball off to Jeff, there were six seconds left," Keffer said. "I looked. When he went up, I did not expect the pass back. But, he dropped it off. I didn't have time to think; I just turned it loose. The defensive man blocked my vision, but I saw it fall out of the bottom of the net. I knew it was shot in time to count, but I sure was happy to see that it went in. It was a big one."
Vanderbilt entered the game as a large favorite and the win kept the Commodores in second place.
"No, I didn't think Fosnes would pass it off," Vanderbilt Head Coach Roy Skinner said. "Fos went up and he really didn't have a shot. The pass was a great maneuver, quick thinking. His reaction and Keffer's shot will mean a great deal in this title race. And what a basket! I was never so happy t see one go in."
"I was going to shoot," Fosnes said. "I was already in the air when suddenly two guys were up there with me and I couldn't do anything but go back to Dicky. I guess I made a good choice."
Ole Miss coach Cob Jarvis believed that the Keffer did not get his shot off on time. He thought this because he believed that he saw official George Strauthers waving his arms that the basket was no good.
However, WNGE-TV taped the game and mixed it with a computerized timing mechanism that was synchronized with the tape to show that the shot was off before the buzzer sounded.
Because of the weather, only 1,800 die-hard fans were in attendance.
Vanderbilt defeated Tennessee State 73-60 on Nov. 7, 1977 in the first intercollegiate varsity women's basketball game for both programs.
Freshman Karen McGinn led all scorers with 20 points for Vanderbilt. Ann Morrow added 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Jan Jordan finished with 17 points. The Commodores shot 44.9% from the floor. Pam Nicholson was Tennessee State's leading scorer with 16 points.
The crowd was announced at 200.
"We're all very proud to win that first one." Vanderbilt Head Coach Joe Pepper told Tom Robinson of the Nashville Banner. "We were worried about using the right passing lanes and adjusting to TSU's quickness. In the second half we ate the boards up."
"We were all so excited and nervous for the first few minutes we couldn't get it going. McGinn said.
In front of maybe the largest crowd to ever watch a game inside Memorial Gym, Vanderbilt upset seventh-ranked and undefeated LSU, 88-87, on Jan. 8, 1979. Because the game occurred during holiday break on campus, Vanderbilt officials sold a number of the student seats to the general public. However, a larger-than-expected student turnout led to an overflow crowd of 16,500 that spilled onto the apron of the playing floor and into the aisles.
The crowd was so large that the fire marshal got involved at halftime, ordering everyone to clear the aisles. Outside, the police were towing cars that were parked illegally on sidewalks all around the gym.
The fans that packed in Memorial Gym that night left having seen exactly what they had hoped for.
VU took the lead for good on two straight baskets by reserve Mark Elliott, giving the Commodores a 77-75 lead with just over five minutes to play. A pair of free throws by sophomore Mike Rhodes with 42 seconds to play proved to be the difference in the game as the Commodores improved to 10-1 overall and 3-0 in the SEC. The Commodores also moved atop the SEC standings with a loss by Tennessee the same night.
"It's no fluke. Not the way these kids played," Vanderbilt Head Coach Wayne Dobbs said. "We deserve to be No. 1 in the conference. I believe we have come of age."
LSU entered the game as the SEC favorite having just won at Kentucky the previous game.
"You won't hear any excuses from us," LSU Head Coach Dale Brown said. "Vanderbilt is a good team and it kept the pressure on us all night. Doggone it, it's just a loss for us and a great victory for Coach Dobbs and his team."
With win, Vanderbilt had won as many games during the season than it had the previous two years under Dobbs. After the game, Dobbs called the win "unquestionably the greatest night of his life."
Rhodes finished with a team-high 24 points. Charles Davis (pictured) added 18 points and Greg Fuller and Davis each had 11 rebounds.
"They (LSU) didn't play smart basketball," Davis said. "They've definitely got the biggest and strongest team int eh conference, but I though we blocked them off the boards. I just tried to stay cool and not get in foul trouble. If I had the shot, take it. If not, don't' force anything. I just think we wanted to win worse than they did."
"Nobody thought we could do it," Tommy Springer said. "The trainers who were taping us this afternoon didn't even think so. But, we changed all that."
Vanderbilt won despite LSU's DeWayne Seales scoring 30 and Al Green scoring 29. However, Seales fouled out with 2:30 to play.
"With just nine seconds to play and us down only three points, our guys came back to a huddle at timeout with their heads down." Brown said. "Instead of fire in their eyes like at Kentucky, they had that look which said, `golly we're unbeaten and we're losing it.' "
In addition to the 16,500 in attendance, a local television audience also saw the game on WTVF Channel 5.
The upset led Tennessean writer Jimmy Davy to pen the following: Under the circumstances and considering the wide gulf of physical talents between the two teams, this upset may have been not only one of the greatest in Vanderbilt's history, but the most courageous.
In what was and still is regarded as the biggest basketball win in MTSU's history, the Blue Raiders upset Kentucky, 50-44, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on March 11, 1982.
"I'll be honest," MTSU Head Coach Stan Simpson quipped. "We had to win this one, because I didn't have a ticket for Saturday's game."
A near-capacity crowd of 14,761 was on hand in what many believed would be a tuneup for the Wildcats, who would play a much-anticipated game with Louisville in the second round. Tickets for the assumed matchup between Kentucky and Louisville were being scalped for $50 outside the gym, but after the MTSU upset, the tickets were bing given away in handfuls for a few dollars.
"I really don't think we were looking ahead," Kentucky Head Coach Joe B. Hall said. "I just think they were more mentally ready to play. Our confidence faded some as they did some things to preserve their lead and their victory."
MTSU's Rick Campbell scored 19 points and Jerry Beck had 14. No Kentucky player scored in double figures. MTSU won despite making just 10-of-18 free throws.
"We came in knowing we could do two or three things against Kentucky," Simpson said. "We knew we couldn't put pressure on Dirk Minnifield because he's too quick. We had to get close to Jim Master, which I think we did, and I was surprised we held Derrick Hord (6points) as well as we did.
"Publicly, I'm surprised we won, but personally, I thought we could. Our guys kept telling me they could beat Kentucky and I believed them."
Wrote Tennessean writer Jimmy Davy after the game: "On this memorable occasion the calf ate the butcher. And in all fairness, the score of the slaughter was not as bad as it could have been."
Vanderbilt defeated Tennessee, 69-68, on Feb. 24, 1983 on what is one of the most controversial calls in the history of Memorial Gym. With Vanderbilt trailing by one, Phil Cox drove the length of the floor, was fouled with one second to play on a blocking call against Tennessee's Tyrone Beaman. As a result of the foul, Cox - the nation's leading foul shooter - sank both free throws to beat the Vols. The controversial foul became known simply as "The Collision."
"I can't say I wasn't a little nervous, but I said to myself, `you have a chance to end it right here. I can make two or 50 free throws in a row. No reason I can't get these,' " Cox said.
The Collision came after Dan Federmann hit a 15-footer to give Tennessee a 68-67 lead with five seconds left. As Cox (pictured) drove the lane and made contact with Beaman, official Allie Prescott called Beaman for a block as opposed to whistling Cox for charging.
"It was the worst call ever made on me in my life," Beaman said. "I looked at the official and he looked at me. I said some things that he could have called a technical on me for, but he didn't. He just looked at me as if to say he was sorry, but he had made the call and there was nothing he could do about it."
The win snapped a three-game losing streak and moved Vanderbilt to 17-10 overall and 8-7 in the SEC. Earlier in the season, Vanderbilt had snapped a 10-game losing streak to No. Tennessee (17-8, 9-7 SEC) and with the win at Memorial Gym, the Commodores swept the season series for the first time since 1966. The win in Knoxville also came after two free throws by Cox with 12 seconds to play.
Cox, just a sophomore, finished with 22 points and Jeff Turner scored 17. Both teams shot better than 60% from the floor. Vanderbilt made 60.5% of its shots and Tennessee made 60.4% of its attempts. VU made 17-of-24 from the free-throw line and Tennessee made 4-of-6.
"It was another game in which an official determined the winner," Tennessee Head Coach Don DeVoe said. "If you put Cox on the foul line at that point, the game is over."
Tennessee had a costly turnover near the end of the game the kept the Commodores alive. With a one-point lead and the ball, Tennessee's Dale Ellis made an inbounds pass that was deflected by Vanderbilt's James Williams and wound up in the hands of Phil Cox. With 13 seconds left, Turner went to the line for a one-plus-one. He hit both and VU went in front before Tennessee regained the lead.
But what people will remember most from the game was the controversial call with one second on the clock.
"I realized that there was time to go all the way and I just went," Cox said. "I did think about pulling up at the foul line for a jumper, but saw Federmann coming out. I just kept going and got lucky by being fouled. When I hit Beaman, I saw the referee signaling block. A lot of people are going to say I charged, but it's not important now. It's over and I'm glad the way I turned out."
"I'm not saying it was a bad call, but there are too many games being decided by officiating decisions in this conference," DeVoe said. "If I had it to do over again, I'd have Tyrone make exactly the same play he did."
The game was played in front of 15,626 fans on the same day Vanderbilt Chancellor Joe B. Wyatt was inaugurated. With the win, it was the first time VU had beaten UT in football and twice in basketball in the same school year since 1954.
"They have beaten Tennessee twice in one season and it's something they can remember and cherish the rest of their lives," Vanderbilt Head Coach C.M. Newton said.
For the first time in the history of its women's basketball program, Vanderbilt defeated arch-rival Tennessee 84-77 on Jan. 13, 1985, snapping an eight-game losing streak to Pat Summitt and the Lady Vols.
"There is no question that this is a milestone in our program," Vanderbilt Head Coach Phil Lee said. "Tennessee has always been the standard. We've waited a long time - and worked - hard for this moment. It wasn't too bad. All in all, it's going to be a night we'll all remember."
Vanderbilt saw a 10-point lead dwindle to five before forward Jackie Cowan (pictured) stole a pass and dished to Patsy Smith for a layup to make the score 78-71 with less than 1:30 to play.
"It feels so good to beat Tennessee after so many years of trying to measure up," Harriet Brumfield said. "All of us were aware that the edge we had on Tennessee was our inside game. We are so much taller and more experienced. We were confident from the beginning."
The game was played in front of a crowd of 1,100 and improved Vanderbilt to 9-6 overall and 2-2 in the SEC. Tennessee fell to 9-6 overall and 0-2 in the SEC.
Karen Booker scored 16 of her 19 points in the first half to give VU a 38-34 lead at the break. Brumfield scored 21 points in the second half and 25 for the game. Forward Jackie Cowan had 20 points.
"It's nice to get the monkey off our backs," Booker said. "If we had played this hard we wouldn't have lost to anyone this season but Old Dominion and Texas."
Vanderbilt used a very unconventional lineup at one point during the game due to an injury to guard Donna Atkinson. The Commodores implemented a lineup without a true guard with the shortest player being the 5-foot-11 Cowan.
Lisa Webb led Tennessee in scoring with 17 points.
"Vanderbilt just crashed the boards and whipped us in a lot of categories," Pat Summitt said. "They did the little things, getting the key steals and, most importantly, getting the ball inside on us at will."
With four seconds to play, Vanderbilt's Barry Goheen made a 10-foot jumper and a free throw after being fouled on the shot to beat Tennessee, 60-59, on Jan. 15, 1986.
"I just tried to block out the situation - the noise, the score, everything," Goheen said. "This is definitely the greatest athletic accomplishment I've ever known."
Vanderbilt was down eight points, 59-51, with 48 seconds to left as some fans headed to the exits. Vanderbilt then ran off nine straight points as Tennessee missed the front end of two one-and-one free throw opportunities.
After the game, the fans were so excited by the team's performance that they stood and cheered even after the team left the court. Shortly after getting to the locker room, the team returned to the court where they received a curtain call for the first time since Phil Cox beat Tennessee with two free throws in 1983.
"We came back to give the fans a hand," Goheen said. "We were down eight points with less than a minute to play and they didn't leave. They are the best fans in the country. If they weren't, there wouldn't have been more than 2,000 left at that point and they would've all been for Tennessee."
"That crowd up there tonight and this place is the reason I got back into coaching," C.M. Newton said. "The crowd - my goodness! They just wouldn't allow us to lose."
The comeback began with Steve Reece's basket with 48 seconds to play. Barry Booker then skied to tip a missed free throw back in and that cut the UT lead to five, 59-54, with 32 seconds left. Goheen then hit a 20-footer to draw VU within two, 59-57, with :27 to play.
Tennessee's Tony White scored a game-high 31 points, but he missed a chance to seal the game at the free-throw line with 17 seconds left and UT up 59-57.
White's first freebie missed and Vanderbilt rebounded. VU raced down the court and Goheen pulled up for a short jumper that missed. But he followed his shot, grabbed the rebound and hit the shot and was fouled to give Vanderbilt the win.
"I think in 31 years I've seen a lot happen and this is one of the proudest wins I've ever been associated with," Newton said. "We came into this game against a really good Tennessee team without any excuses and came out with the victory."
Vanderbilt improved to 9-5 overall and 3-2 in the SEC despite playing without three starters who were out due to injury. Tennessee fell to 9-5 overall and 2-3 in SEC.
Goheen finished with 16 points. Bobby Westbrooks had 13.
"Teams choke sometimes and we choked in a couple of situations," Tennessee Head Coach Don DeVoe said. "We had the right guys there and didn't make the free throws.
"I think it's clear we choked at the free-throw line. You saw the game. Didn't you think we choked? We had the opportunity for four free throws and we wound up with nothing. There were also those rebounds we didn't get. It looked to me like we just choked."
In one of the most impressive free-throw shooting performance in NCAA history, Vanderbilt sank a record 35-of-36 free throw attempts in a 77-65 win over Mississippi State on Feb. 26, 1986. The performance remains an NCAA record for percentage made with 35 attempts or more (97.2%).
Vanderbilt made 29 straight free throws at one point and the lone miss came from reserve Randy Neff. Meanwhile Mississippi State made 9-of-12 free throws. Vanderbilt's Brett Burrow tied a school single game record by making 12-of-12 free throws and finished with a game-high 20 points.
The odds finally caught up with us," Burrow said. "We're normally a good free throw shooting team, but we have had trouble lately. Tonight we were on. That's the way you're supposed to shoot `em."
The win improved Vanderbilt to 13-10 overall and 7-10 in the SEC. Mississippi State dropped to 3-14 in the SEC, but one of those wins came at the hands of the Commodores earlier in the season.
"We played awfully well down the stretch and not just by hitting our free throws," Head Coach C.M. Newton (pictured) said. "We beat a good basketball team tonight."
Vanderbilt scored its last 18 points at the free-throw line and 20 of its last 22 to break open a 53-53 deadlock. The game was played in front of 12,787 fans.
Vanderbilt defeated No. 2-ranked and eventual national champion Indiana, 79-75, on Dec. 9, 1986.
With 15,626 in attendance, Vanderbilt rallied back from a nine-point deficit to improve to 5-1 overall. Vanderbilt went ahead 49-48 with 14:29 to play by Barry Booker (pictured) but the game remained tight the rest of the day. Indiana was within three, 78-75, with 20 seconds to play when Booker was fouled. He made the first shot, missed the second and Indiana's shot attempt bounced off the rim.
"This was just an outstanding basketball game," Vanderbilt Head Coach C.M. Newton said. "I would have been pleased with the way our team played even if the score had been reversed. I thought it was one of those games where both teams played awfully hard and both teams executed pretty well. I'm very, very proud of our team. This was a very significant win for our program."
Barry Goheen made 7-of-10 shots and scored 20 of his career-high 26 points in the second half. Booker added 10 and Steve Reece finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. Will Perdue also had 15 points and nine rebounds.
"I hate to see it be us but I'm very happy for Vanderbilt," Indiana Head Coach Bob Knight said. "The team that deserved to win it won it and they did it because they made some plays and hung in there."
Indiana's Steve Alford scored 28 points, but he was held to just one field goal and four points in the last eight and a half minutes of the game. Drawing the defensive assignment on Alford was senior Glenn Clem.
"I've got a black eye from somebody's elbow and I'm so tired I can barely stand up," Clem said. "I'm going straight to bed. The rest of the Indiana players may have forgotten about Alford a little bit at the end of the game, but I think he just got tired. He wasn't moving like he did earlier.
"This is the biggest game we've ever won here at Vanderbilt. This is the kind of game you dream of."
Newton also thanked the crowd after the game.
"That's our great home court advantage; the crowd wouldn't let us get tired. This is why I got back into coaching."
The win came against an Indiana team that was without Rick Calloway, the previous year's Big 10 Freshman of the Year. Vanderbilt, however, was also starting forward Bobby Westbrooks.
Deborah Denton hit two free throws with seven seconds to play to help seal a 77-76 Vanderbilt victory over No. 5 Tennessee on Feb. 4, 1987.
The game was played in front of 4,287 fans in what was the largest crowd ever to watch a women's game in Memorial Gym at the time. The 15th-ranked Commodores improved to 18-4 overall and 4-3 in the SEC. Tennessee fell to 15-4 overall.
"I prayed, I knew I would make them," Denton said. "I thanked God. He let me make them."
Denton's free throw gave Vanderbilt a 77-74 lead. Tennessee's Sheila Frost would add a basket at the end, but it was too late.
"After we lost to LSU on Sunday in overtime, everybody was saying that we couldn't win the big one," Vanderbilt's Karen Booker said "At the end of the game, all I could think about was the LSU game. The way we blew that LSU game was very vivid in my mind. We couldn't play so hard and lose this one, too."
The Commodores trailed by nine at the half before charging back. Vanderbilt would take a 72-62 lead with 6:23 to play, but Tennessee was not done. The Lady Vols' Sheila Frost scored 12 unanswered points to give Tennessee a 74-72 lead with two minutes left. With 1:47 remaining, Robin Adams knotted the score at 74 with a pair of free throws. However, the officials whistled the Commodores for a lane violation and the second free throw didn't count as Tennessee remained in front.
But on the next possession, Vanderbilt's Nicole Marcelli stole the ball from Tennessee and Denton hit a jump shot from the corner to put Vanderbilt in front 75-74 with 1:12 to play.
"I wanted the ball," Denton said of her shot. "I felt I had the hot hand and I love pressure."
Booker would steal the ball on Tennessee's next possession. Denton would miss a shot, but Marcelli was there for the rebound as the Commodores began to run clock. Vanderbilt almost lost the ball out of bounds with nine seconds to play, but Carolyn Peck saved it and gave it to Robin Adams. A Tennessee player forced a jump ball, but the Commodores retained possession.
"I was just trying to hold the ball," Adams said. "I thought I was fouled. The officials didn't."
"Sometimes you have to be both good and Lucky," Vanderbilt Head Coach Phil Lee said.
Denton (pictured) had 22 points and Booker scored 20 points. Tennessee's Sheila Frost led all scorers with 24 points.
Vanderbilt finished with 15 steals to Tennessee's eight, and the two steals down the stretch were extra important.
"Steals were the key to the game," Tennessee Head Coach Pat Summitt said. "If you look at the number of steals they had and the number we had, you'll see the big difference. We are a team which has to have more steals to win."
The unsung hero of the game was Marcelli, who scored six points, had three assists and four steals.
"I don't think you understand how big the rivalry between the two schools is until you play Tennessee as a freshman," Marcelli said. "I was pumped last year, but not like this year. There was no way I was going to feel as bad as I did after last year's loss. There was no way I was going to feel as bad as I did Sunday night after we lost to LSU in overtime. I didn't wan another sleepless night."
"Nicole came to play," Lee said. "She's a great athlete who had to learn to play the college game. I thought she was a big key for us."
Vanderbilt continued its success against No. 1 teams as the Commodores defeated top-ranked North Carolina, 78-76, on Dec. 5, 1987.
With a rambunctious crowd of 15,626 in attendance, Vanderbilt was led by Will Perdue's 23 points. Charles Mayes had 16 points and Barry Goheen finished with 13 points. It was Mayes, a former attendee of North Carolina's summer camp, who hit three three-pointers in the final seven minutes to help secure the win.
"The magic of this gym is the crowd," Vanderbilt Head Coach C.M. Newton said. "This is what it's all about. When the students get cracking like that, they can lift your players and have an effect on the other team. It can be a very tough place for a visiting team to play."
Legendary North Carolina Head Coach Dean Smith knew this all too well. He finished his career 0-3 at Memorial Gym.
Vanderbilt moved to 3-0 with the win, while North Carolina fell to 3-1 on the season. In the Tar Heels' previous game they had defeated No. 1 Syracuse to assume the top spot in the rankings.
"I'm proud of our team for winning," Newton said. "But I'm even more proud of them for preparing to win. Coach (John) Bostic did an excellent job of scouting North Carolina and helping prepare our team for them."
Vanderbilt jumped out to a 13-4 lead, but UNC was up by six with 7:31 to play. Vanderbilt would go back in front and were ahead by three, 78-75, with three seconds left when the Commodores had their inbounds pass stolen.
North Carolina guard Jeff Lebo stole the pass and was fouled on a three-point attempt. However the rules then called for only two foul shots. He made one of the two shots with one second left to finish the game with 21 points.
"I don't agree with the rule," Newton said. "I think a foul on a three-point shot should be a three-shot foul, but the rule's the rule and that's the way we're going to play it."
Vanderbilt shot 47.5% from the floor and UNC shot 47.9%.
"To me (the win) ranks as the best ever," senior Will Perdue said.
In addition to his 23 points, Perdue also had 10 rebounds and blocked three shots.
"Perdue was just too much for us inside," North Carolina Head Coach Dean Smith said.
"It's a big, big win for our program, no question," Newton said. "This is what it is all about right here - pride." "I thought the level of play was outstanding. The intensity was terrific. We had to fight for our lives."
Barry Goheen hit a half-court shot just before halftime and did it for the second time in the same game to beat No. 13 Louisville, 65-62, as the final buzzer sounded.
Goheen's game-winning 45-footer sent a large portion of the crowd of 15,262 onto the court on this night of Nov. 30, 1988. The late game heroics were nothing new to Goheen (pictured), who had just sunk the fourth game-winning shot of his career at the buzzer.
The headline in the Tennessean the next day read: Magic Touch: VU's Goheen does it again.
"It wasn't anything fancy," Goheen said of his shot. "You only have three seconds left (to get the shot off). I expected more full-court pressure. This was Hail Mary, throw it up and hope it goes in. I knew it was going to be long enough but I thought it was going to be a little to the left. A lot can happen in three seconds."
Leading up to Goheen's shot, Vanderbilt's Barry Booker was fouled and sank two free throws with 15 seconds left to give VU a 62-60 lead. On the next possession of the game, Louisville's Tony Kimbro grabbed an offensive rebound and laid the ball in to tie the game with three seconds left.
"You don't expect him to make it," Louisville Head Coach Denny Crum said. "Sometimes things like that happen. We tried to make him take an off-balance shot but it just went in."
The win improved Vanderbilt's record to 2-2 on the season. Booker scored 20 to lead Vanderbilt. Frank Kornet finished with 15 and Goheen had 11. Goheen had previously beaten Tennessee and Florida as a freshman and Penn as a sophomore. He had also helped defeat Pittsburgh in NCAA Tournament with two threes to send the game to OT.
"As soon as I saw Goheen with the ball and heading across the center line I thought we had a chance," junior Derrick Wilcox said. "He doesn't just do it in a game, he does it all the time in practice."
"I could see it was going in all the way. "He shot it just the way I taught him, " quipped Newton.
Barry Goheen had an open look at a two-pointer that would have tied the game and sent it to overtime, but instead he opted for a three-pointer that he splashed home to defeat Georgia 76-75 on Jan. 14, 1989. Goheen got the ball along the left baseline and took a few dribbled in before backing out for the winning three.
Amazingly, the buzzer-beater wasn't even the first of the game for Goheen (pictured). He ended the first half by banking in a 53-footer.
"I can't explain it; maybe a higher power takes over," Goheen said.
"It's downright spooky to see two shots like that in one game," Vanderbilt Head Coach C.M. Newton said.
The second shot won the game and brought the crowd of 15,244 pouring onto the court chanting "Goheen! Goheen! Goheen!"
"I asked Barry (Goheen) if he knew what the score was," Newton said. "I wanted to know if he knew we were only down two."
"Did I know the score? Absolutely," Goheen said. "But when I got the ball with five or six seconds left, I wasn't going for a two-pointer, I decided I was going to work for the three and win it or lose it with one shot.
"I was wide open. I was surprised and a little off balance but I felt like I got a pretty good shot off."
With Georgia leading 75-73 after two free throws by Goheen with 21 seconds left, the Bulldogs inbounded the ball and threw a long pass to Pat Hamilton, who was running open to the goal. At the last second, Vanderbilt's Eric Reid made a quick lunge at the ball and distracted Hamilton who missed the layup. Georgia's Marshall Wilson attempted to follow the miss with a dunk, but it hit off the back of the rim. Vanderbilt's Barry Booker grabbed it and passed off to Goheen. As Booker passed the ball, he collided with a Georgia defender and both players fell to the floor, but the whistle did not blow.
Goheen would do the rest from there.
"I'm not aware of the crowd, the noise, the pressure or anything." Goheen said. "I shoot, then I come out of a vacuum. I see the score, hear the crowd, then it sinks in."
Vanderbilt improved to 9-7 overall and 4-1 in the SEC in what was Newton's 499th career win. Goheen and Booker each finished with 16 points.
It is known simply as The Tennis Ball Game. With Vanderbilt in possession of the ball and leading Florida 72-70 with one second remaining, a person or persons in the crowd threw at least four tennis balls at Florida center Dwayne Schintzius. As a result, official John Clougherty issued a technical foul to the Commodores, which put Schintzius at the free throw line to tie the game.
He made both free throws to send the game to overtime and Florida would go on to defeat Vanderbilt 81-78 in overtime on Jan. 25, 1989. Vanderbilt would finish the season in second place, one game behind the Gators.
"This is the toughest loss I've ever been associated with," Vanderbilt Head Coach C.M. Newton said. "Whoever did that weren't Vanderbilt fans. They were two damn yokles who got carried away."
It was not the first time that season Schintzius was the target of thrown tennis balls at games. During the preseason, he had struck a student with a tennis racket in Gainesville, which had resulted in fans throwing tennis balls at him in games at Tennessee and Georgia. In both games, the act resulted in a technical foul just as it did against the Commodores.
"In my opinion, a game should not be decided by outside forces," Newton said. "Our basketball players had done nothing wrong, and the ball-throwing incident - while unfortunate and uncalled for - had absolutely no bearing on the game at that point."
Vanderbilt was aware of the potential for thrown tennis balls, so Athletic Director Roy Kramer instructed ushers to search for tennis balls as people entered the gym. Many tennis balls were confiscated, but not all. The crowd was also warned before the game that the act of throwing any object on the floor would result in a technical foul.
"We collected several at the doors, but there was no way to get them all, with people wearing coats," Kramer said.
In overtime, Schintzius outscored Vanderbilt 7-0 in the early minutes to put the game away.
Tell whoever it was threw the balls that Dwayne Schintzius thanks them very much," Schintzius said.
Before the tennis balls were thrown onto the court, Vanderbilt had virtually assured itself a victory. After a Florida miss, Vanderbilt's Frank Kornet was fouled. With six seconds showing, he nailed the first of a two-shot opportunity, but missed the second. Florida rebounded and passed the ball downcourt over the head of the intended receiver and it was VU's ball with one second left. Then the tennis balls came on the court.
"This was an incredible way to lose a game," Barry Goheen said. "Whoever did it (threw the balls) better run. They've got about 12 guys after them."
A main issue raised after the game was the lack of consistency in calling technical fouls in similar situations. Vanderbilt pointed to an incident earlier that season at Ole Miss when fans threw ice on the court and forced a delay, but no technical was called.
However, the SEC stood by Clougherty's decision. SEC Director of Officials John Guthrie said Clougherty, "simply followed league directive and we may need to reassess the policy."
Until his retirement, Clougherty had been booed at every Memorial Gymnasium game since that incident when his name was announced before a game.
"It was the proper call, Goheen said. "The crowd had been warned."
Florida Head Coach Norm Sloan was not surprised at the technical call.
"The only thing that surprised me was that there was not a second technical called, as more tennis balls came after the first," Sloan said. "It's ironic that Dwayne was the one to shoot the free throws. I didn't have it planned that way, but he was my best free throw shooter on the court at the time. I'd rather the whole thing not have happened at all, but now it's history. I feel sorry for C.M. and the Vanderbilt team, but they got one against Georgia where they got a break. Those things happen."
Vanderbilt fell to 10-9 overall with the loss and 4-3 in the SEC. Barry Booker (pictured) finished with 23 points, 21 came on a school record seven three-point shots.
The loss came shortly after Newton had accepted a role as athletic director at Kentucky. He received a standing ovation from the crowd of 15,498 at introductions.
After the game, their was a near-hoax by an anonymous source that claimed a Florida law student was one of the individuals who throw tennis balls onto the court. After researching it further, it was determined that the student, David Huskey Jr., had not been the culprit.
Even to this day, the thought of the incident still irritates Vanderbilt's players, coaches and fans. Vanderbilt finished the season 19-14 overall and 12-6 in SEC, one game behind SEC Champion Florida (13-5).
"That tennis ball game still gives me a knot in my stomach to think about an SEC title that got away that year, with that game being a part of it," Booker said.
Vanderbilt All-American Wendy Scholtens made one of the biggest shots of her career to help the Commodores defeat No. 3 Georgia, 63-62, on Jan. 13, 1990.
With 3,311 fans in attendance, Scholtens hit a 10-foot jumper in the lane with two seconds to play.
"It was a brick, a prayer,"Scholtens would say after the game.
But two seconds was almost too much time on the clock. Georgia's Sharon Baldwin through a full-court length pass that deflected off Vanderbilt's Shelley Jarrard and went directly into the hands of Georgia's Lady Hardmon. Hardmon caught the ball just behind the foul line, but her shot hit off the back of the rim.
"It was a good shot, we had a chance," Georgia Head Coach Andy Landers said.
Scholtens led No. 23 Vanderbilt with 22 points as the Commodores snapped Georgia's 13-game winning streak and improved to 13-4 overall and 2-0 in the SEC.
Georgia led 58-53 with 3:40 to play before Vanderbilt came roaring back and took a 61-60 lead with 1:22 to play on a jump shot by Kris Becker.
"We were just playing so aggressively, I was just in the right place at the right time," Becker said.
Georgia regained the lead with 16 seconds to play, which setup Scholtens for the game-winner.
"It was a wonderful win," Lee said. "It was great time for us to play Georgia. They'd been on the road. We played our best, especially on defense.
"This was the best defensive effort for 40 minutes that any team I've ever coached has given. When you've got an All-American when you've got a Wendy Scholtens, you go to her. We went to Wendy, we isolated her, and she responded."
VU won despite not having starting forward Renae Sallquist for much of the second half after she had twisted her ankle.
Belmont and Lipscomb have met many times on the hardwood, but no matchup was ever like the one that took place on Feb. 17, 1990 when The Battle of the Boulevard came to Memorial Gymnasium.
Playing in front of a capacity crowd of 15,378 - the largest ever to see an NAIA game - No. 1 Lipscomb would win a shootout, 124-105, over No. 9 Belmont. With the win, Lipscomb clinched its third straight Tennessee Collegiate Athletic Conference title and improved to 33-4 overall and 15-0 in league play, while Belmont fell to 26-6 and 13-2 in the league.
"It was exciting," Lipscomb freshman Jerry Meyer said. "I had a taste of playing at Memorial Gym when I played here in high school in the state tournament. But it's really something else playing in this gym when it's packed."
The game was originally scheduled to be played at Belmont, but the Nashville Athletic Club asked Belmont and Head Coach Rick Byrd to move the game to Vanderbilt. All tickets were sold for $10 and proceeds from the game went to the two schools' athletics department with $40,000 being donated to the Burns Center at Vanderbilt Hospital.
The previous year thousands of fans were turned away for the team's two meetings because of the limited seating capacity. But even Memorial Gym was not large enough to accommodate everyone for this game. The Lipscomb and Belmont women's teams played in the first game of the evening and by halftime of their game more than 12,000 people were already in their seats. When the men's game began, every seat had been filled and hundred more were outside trying to get in, but the Nashville Metro Fire Marshall closed the doors. The old NAIA attendance record was 9,336 set in the 1981 NAIA National Championship.
"It's an historic event and we're ecstatic," Rick Regen, president of the Nashville Athletic Club said. "This crowd is unbelievable. This was something when we started out we had no idea could happen."
Lipscomb made 47-of-75 shots for 62.7 percent shooting from the floor. Belmont made 51.8 percent of its shots one 43-of-82 shooting. Belmont outrebounded Lipscomb, 46-30.
Joe Behling led all individuals with 45 points for Belmont. Lipscomb's Philip Hutcheson had 30 points. Wade Tomlinson also scored 25 for Lipscomb.
"This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all of us," Behling said. "Not many people are going to get this chance to see this kind of basketball again."
Vanderbilt was the beneficiary of a rare five-second call that helped the Commodores defeat Rutgers 78-75 in the first women's basketball NCAA Tournament game at Memorial Gym on March 14, 1990.
The win was Vanderbilt's first in NCAA Tournament history after three previous times and helped pave the way for the first of eight straight Sweet 16 appearances.
Vanderbilt overcame a 12-point-point deficit in the last 3:25 to secure a win. Rutgers led 74-64 and had the ball out of bounds on Vanderbilt's end of the court and called timeout. At the conclusion of the timeout, the horn sounded and Rutgers stayed in the huddle, saying later that they did not hear the horn. With Rutgers not breaking the huddle, the official placed the ball on the floor and began a five-second count.
As soon as Rutgers' players realized what was taking place, they sprinted downcourt, but before they could make it, the referee had whistled for a five-second violation.
"That turnover took the wind out of our sails," Rutgers Head Coach Thresa Grentz said. "That's the first time I've ever seen it made. We never heard a buzzer or a whistle and no official ever came over to our huddle to warn us the timeout was over and he had started his count. If the benches had been at mid-court we could have made it."
Vanderbilt took advantage of the costly turnover as Donna Harris sank a three-pointer to jump-start the comeback. Harris followed her three with a two-point bucket and then Rutgers turned the ball over on a player control foul. Vanderbilt's Wendy Scholtens sank one free throw at the other end and Rutgers answered with a free throw to keep the Lady Knights ahead 75-70 with 1:09 to play.
However, Misty Lamb (pictured) then sank two free throws and Shelly Jarrard hit another for Vanderbilt after Rutgers turned the ball over. Jarrard missed the second free throw but gathered her own rebound and passed to Lamb, who made a 15-footer with 32 seconds left to give Vanderbilt a 76-75 lead. Rutgers then turned it over again and Lamb added two more free throws. The comeback was complete.
"It was a tough play for them," Vanderbilt Head Coach Phil Lee said of the five-second violation. "That got us back in the game. And it got the crows into it, too. There's no question in my mind if we had played this game in New Jersey we'd be coming home with a loss tonight.
"It is the biggest win in our program's history."
With a crowd of 3,500 in attendance, Vanderbilt improved to 22-10 overall and advanced to play at Iowa in the second round. Scholtens led Vanderbilt with 28 points.
"I never thought we could come back," Scholtens said.
"I probably should have passed the ball," Lamb said of her late buckets. "But the shots were there so I took them."
Vanderbilt erased a 16-point halftime deficit (47-31) to defeat arch-rival Tennessee and advance in the second round of the NIT on March 19, 1990. The win would help pave the way to Vanderbilt winning the NIT at Madison Square Garden.
In what was an improbable championship run for the Commodores, who lost nine of 12 games during one stretch of the season, it was their win against Tennessee that best defined their season.
For the second game in a row, Vanderbilt trailed its opponent by as many as 17 points in the first half. Against Tennessee, the Commodores trailed by this margin twice. Vanderbilt (18-14) made a 21-4 run in the first 7:28 of the second half to climb back into the game. Vanderbilt's comeback was completed when sophomore Todd Milholland sank a three-pointer with 12:33 to play to give the Commodores a 52-51 lead. It was Vanderbilt's first lead since the first basket of the game.
"It's a good thing there are two halves in a game," quipped Vanderbilt Head Coach Eddie Fogler. "It was an unbelievable game."
Derrick Wilcox scored a career-high 27 points and Milholland came off the bench and finished with 18 points and seven rebounds. Vanderbilt would defeat New Orleans 88-65 in its next game to advance to the NIT semifinals. Scott Draud would later be named MVP of the NIT.
"Did I ever think we were out of it? Of course not," Wilcox said. "We knew we could do it. I just hope we don't have to keep doing it."
Tennessee's Allan Houston scored 31 points. After the Vols shot 70% in the first half, they made 40% of their shots int eh second half.
"This was a tough loss for us," Tennessee Head Coach Wade Houston said. "This was a tough loss for us."
"During halftime Coach Fogler told us that if we made a run we had to sustain it," Draud said. "We knew we were back in the game but we knew it was a long way from over."
If you could make just one three-pointer in your career, it may as well be a game-winner. That is exactly what former Commodore Steve Grant did.
With Vanderbilt trailing No. 11 Georgia, 74-72, with five seconds to play, Grant sank a three-pointer just beyond the half court stripe to sink the Bulldogs, 75-74, on Dec. 11, 1990.
The desperation three-pointer came on the first attempt of his career and would wind up as the only three-pointer of his career.
"I got the ball and was looking for an open man and couldn't find anybody," Grant said. "I knew time was running down, so I just took the shot. I guess it was more reaction than anything."
The win boosted Vanderbilt's record to 4-3 overall and 1-0 in the SEC. Georgia fell to 5-1 overall and had entered the game having defeated its previous five opponents by a 43.8-point margin. It looked like Georgia may do the same to the Commodores by jumping out to a 10-2 lead.
Georgia led 66-61 with 1:09 to play, but Vanderbilt's Kevin Anglin hit a three and Bruce Elder sank two free throws to tie the score at 66 with 25 seconds to play. Georgia missed a 12-footer to send the game to overtime.
Scott Draud led VU with 18 points, Kevin Anglin added 16, Grant had 14 and Todd Milholland had 11. Georgia's Litterial Green scored 33 in a game that was televised on ESPN.
Despite the sudden resignation of Head Coach Phil Lee and the suspension of three players, Vanderbilt Hall of Famer Wendy Scholtens refused to allow her final game with the Commodores to result in a loss. Trailing South Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Scholtens (pictured) scored 16 points in the final 14 minutes to help lift Vanderbilt to the Sweet 16 with a 73-64 win on March 13, 1991.
Vanderbilt made just five of its first 24 shots and trailed 43-27 in the second half before outscoring South Carolina 26-8 in the final 7:35 of the game. Vanderbilt took its first lead with 2:11 to play on a pair of free throws by Jade Huntington. South Carolina did not score again.
"They were very physical on defense and kept us in trouble in the first half," said Scholtens, who was told after the game that her jersey would be retired.
The win came after the abrupt resignation of Lee and the suspensions of starters Misty Lamb and Shelly Jarrard and reserve Lesley Smith for minor NCAA infractions. Vanderiblt played only seven players in the game under interim coach Ada Gee.
"Our motivation was for the players who didn't get to play tonight and deserve the chance to be back with us," Huntington said. "They were with us the whole year and deserve to be back with us for another game."
Julie Powell had 15 points and six rebounds and an announced crowd of 2,200 watched the game.
"I won't sit here and tell you I wasn't nervous," Gee said. "What helped me a tremendous deal is I have so much confidence in this team."
Under first-year Head Coach Jim Foster, Vanderbilt made sure Geno Auriemma's UConn team would not be making a return trip to the Final Four by dominating the Huskies, 75-47, to advance to the Sweet 16 on March 21, 1992.
Vanderbilt scored the first eight points of the game and built a 32-14 lead with 4:03 to play in the first half. The game was never close from that point on.
"It was a great game for Vanderbilt," Auriemma said. "If they continue to play like that, they'll be hard to beat."
"We were talking on the bench about already being in the Sweet 16," senior guard Jade Huntington said. "Getting to the Sweet 16 was a definite goal for us. There was no set number of games we wanted to win to get there, but we want to go two steps beyond that. That's our mindset."
The Commodores out rebounded UConn 42-29 and were led by Heidi Gillingham (pictured) with 13 points and seven rebounds. Shelly Jarrard had 11 points, 10 rebounds and two steals. Misty Lamb also chipped in with 11 points and eight rebounds.
"We executed," Foster said. "I don't think we shot the ball that well but we executed. When you're executing well you get a lot of offensive rebounds and second chances."
Vanderbilt entered the game with extra motivation having lost in the SEC quarterfinals to Georgia, 58-57.
"I think we walked out of Albany (Georgia) convinced we had beaten ourselves, there was no excuses and it was time to step up," Foster said. "The two weeks between that game and this one slowed us down, gave us poise and got our mindset right. This was a glimmer of light that this team is starting to understand what mental toughness means. "We're starting to be tougher between he ears. Walking off the court at Albany, kicking ourselves in the butts and knowing we were responsible for losing that game ourselves got it started."
"Vanderbilt had answers for just about everything on the court," Auriemma said. "Their inside people did a great job of defense and their outside shooters were really on. We're not a team that can traditionally come back. We didn't shoot the ball well, and you don't get many second chances against a team as big as Vanderbilt. This was the worst possible draw, because their strengths and our weaknesses went hand in hand. When you're going to upset a team, you've got to get a lot of help from the other team and Vanderbilt didn't give us any."
It was the third straight Sweet 16 appearance for the Commodores, who were ranked No. 13 nationally and improved to 21-8 overall. UConn finished the season with a 23-11 record.
"Coach Foster told us we had all worked hard and given the effort physically," Lamb said. "The rest was mental. That's something that's within ourselves and he couldn't help us with it. It's what's inside us."
"I could feel a real difference in myself and my attitude," Gillingham said. "I was concentrating on the Heidi I can be."
Playing its first-ever home game as the No.1-ranked team, Vanderbilt was greeted by a record crowd of 12,131 for its game against No. 13 Ohio State on Jan. 7, 1993. The Commodores did not disappoint.
Vanderbilt defeated Ohio State 70-67 when Shelley Jarrard (pictured) sank a three-pointer with 12 seconds to play.
"I don't really think of it like we're behind and I need to make this one if we're going to win the game," Jarrard said. "I just concentrate on my feet and get a good shot off. I got good feeds and the shots went in."
The win came after the Commodores had received the school's first No. 1 ranking in any sport. Vanderbilt and Ohio State would end up advancing to the Final Four with Ohio State finishing runner-up.
Jarrard's game-winning three-pointer was her second in the final minute of the game after starting the game just 1-of-5 from beyond the arc. Vanderbilt was trailing 65-64 when Jarrard made a basket from the left key with 52 seconds to play to put the Commodores in front, 67-65. Ohio State's Averill Roberts tied the game with 38 seconds to play before Jarrard would sink the game-winning three.
"Shelley was 0-for-7 in the first half and it didn't phase her a bit," Vanderbilt Head Coach Jim Foster said. "The entire team was a little flat, a little fatigued, but we won the game. We did the right things good teams do at the right time to win ball games."
"Shelley at halftime was worried why her shot wasn't falling," Misty Lamb said. "Then she comes out and hits the two biggest ones of the night."
Vanderbilt moved to 12-0 overall for the first time in school history, surpassing its 11-0 start the previous year. At the time, the crowd the largest Vanderbilt had ever played in front of - home or away.
"I think of all the things you have to get used to (about being No. 1) this is one of the nicest you can have," Lamb said.
Lamb and Gillingham scored 20 points to lead Vanderbilt. Julie Powell had 13 points. Freshman guard Rhonda Blades was injured during a scramble for a loose ball, but returned later in the game wearing a large bandage on her head.
Led by Billy McCaffrey's 22 points and school-record 14 assists, Vanderbilt dominated No. 1 Kentucky 101-86 on Jan. 13, 1993. The 15-point margin of victory is tied for the ninth largest margin of victory in NCAA history by an unranked team over the No. 1 team (through 2011 season).
Kentucky led 16-8 in the early going, but Vanderbilt came back to tie the game at 46 at halftime before pulling away in the second frame.
"It's a good win for Vanderbilt; offensively we were really terrific," Vanderbilt Head Coach Eddie Fogler said. "I'm really proud of this team to come back after a heartbreaking loss last Saturday at Florida and play this way."
McCaffrey a junior transfer from Duke would go on to win SEC Player of the Year.
"We felt going in that we could at least give them a good game," McCaffrey said. "As the game went on, we began to realize we could win it."
Kentucky had won 12 straight games to open the season with its last loss coming to Duke in the infamous Christian Laettner shot in the 1992 NCAA Tournament.
Chris Lawson had 19 points, Ronnie McMahan had 16 points and Bruce Elder had 10.
"Dan played extremely well," Fogler said. "Ronnie came back and played better. Really the whole team had to play better and everyone did tonight. We got great shots."
Dan Hall, a Gilbertsville, Ky., native came off the bench with 8 points and a game-high 9 rebounds.
"It's a lot more fun going back home after you've beat Kentucky," Hall said. "It's Memorial Magic; seems like every year we beat someone ranked high here. I think it's the best all-around game we've played."
Defensively, Vanderbilt held Jamal Mashburn and his 23.4 scoring average to just 14 points. Travis Ford and Rodrick Rhodes had 18 for Kentucky in the loss.
There was a sold-out crowd of 15,317 in attendance. Vanderbilt made 36 of 43 free throws and Kentucky made 10 of 19 free throws.
"I don't think there is a No. 1 team; certainly we weren't," Kentucky Head Coach Rick Pitino said.
It was an entertaining day at Memorial Gym on Jan. 14, 1993 when Vanderbilt ran up and down the court against Oral Roberts in a record-setting 124-58 win for the top-ranked Commodores.
Vanderbilt set a school record for points scored, three-pointers made (15) and assists (37).
"We were very unselfish tonight," Vanderbilt Head Coach Jim Foster said. "We moved the ball around well. This is a very unselfish group, a goal-oriented group and a team-oriented group."
Renee Allen broke the previous team scoring record for most in one game by making the front end of a one-and-one free throw with 1:49 to play in the game. Her first free throw tied the record and her second broke it to give Vanderbilt a a 115-53 lead.
With the win Vanderbilt improved to 14-0 to extend its best start in school history. Ten Commodores scored and six finished in double figures.
"We have a different mentality this season than I've seen on this team since I've been here," King said. "We're committed. That has made it enjoyable to come back for a fifth year."
The Commodores were paced by Lisa King, who totaled 20 points and nine rebounds.
"I was having fun out there," King said. "You have to have fun if you play the game. It's a long season. Why not have fun while you're out there."
Never has there been more intrigue and build up for a women's basketball game at Memorial Gym as there was on Jan. 30, 1993, when the women's basketball universe was centered in Nashville, for a matchup between the nation's top two teams.
No. 1-ranked Vanderbilt played host to No. 2-ranked Tennessee. The Lady Vols would win the game 73-68 before a sold-out crowd of 15,317. The crowd was and remains the largest in school history and all tickets sold out 16 days before the game.
There was such an interest in the game that the fire marshall had to guard the doors more than one hour before tip-off after there was not any room left inside the building. Among those kept outside that day was former Vanderbilt's Chancellor Joe B. Wyatt.
Hundreds of fans did not get in the game because of a promotional ticket used that season that enabled fans to use a ticket to get into any game, and many fans chose the Tennessee game to use the ticket. As a result, some of the 13,250 fans who had purchased tickets for the game were unable to get in because there were so many using promotional tickets.
The large crowd created a festive atmosphere that both teams fed off of throughout the game.
"Let me just say this to the media," Tennessee Head Coach Pat Summitt said. "You all did an unbelievable job in promoting this game, in talking this game up, in generating a sellout. I'd just like to say thank you to all of you and thank you for believing in women's basketball. It mean's a lot to all of us."
Either team could have won the game. Vanderbilt's Shelley Jarrard hit a three-pointer with 33 seconds left to pull within one, 69-68. Tennessee came up empty on its next possession, which gave Vanderbilt a chance to take the lead when Rhonda Blades went to the free-throw line for a one-and-one with 10 seconds to play.
Blades missed the front end and Tennessee rebounded and was fouled immediately. Tennessee's Tiffany Woosley then made two free throws with six seconds to play to give the Lady Vols a 71-68 lead to clinch a victory.
"I would like to say that the crowd and the pressures of the game had some effect on me," Blades said. "But, they didn't. I rushed the foul shot. And I missed.
Vanderbilt made just 12-of-20 free throws and Tennessee made 19-of-22. Vanderbilt lost despite shooting 54.3 percent from the floor compared to Tennessee, who shot 38.2 percent.
"We beat ourselves. We put ourselves in a position to win and didn't. We missed foul shots late and most of them were mine. It's just a lack of concentration."
Vanderbilt had moved into the No. 1 spot in the rankings on Jan. 4 and the loss to the Lady Vols was its first of the season as the Commodores fell to 17-1 overall and 5-1 in the SEC. Heidi Gillingham led the way with 14 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks.
"It's tough to lose any game, but we knew at the start of the season it's awfully hard to go undefeated," Vanderbilt forward Misty Lamb said. "It was a game that a lot of fans went crazy over. For us, it was just another game in the middle of the season. Our goal is a national championship, not an undefeated season. We'll learn a lot from this game."
Tennessee improved to 18-1 overall and 6-0 SEC.
"I'm telling you folks, this game could have gone either way," Summitt said. "Vanderbilt executes better than any basketball team in the nation and their shooters are as good as any around."
It took an extra five minutes against its archival, but Vanderbilt claimed at least a share of its first SEC title since the 1973-74 season with a 90-82 win over Tennessee on March 2, 1993.
Vanderbilt battled back from a 10-point deficit in the first half and trailed by five with 4:25 to play before defeating the Vols.
"Credit Tennessee for competing and staying close enough to win," Vanderbilt Head Coach Eddie Fogler said. "It is amazing how (Tennessee Head Coach) Wade Houston kept his team up through highs and lows. My hat is off to Tennessee."
With a crowd of 15,317 in attendance, Vanderbilt improved to 24-4 overall and 13-2 in the SEC. The Commodores finished their home season with a 14-0 record, marking its first perfect home record since the 1966-67 season and its fifth all-time. Tennessee fell to 12-15 overall and 4-11 in the SEC.
"I never felt like we were going to lose this game," Vanderbilt's Billy McCaffrey said. "We were definitely concerned because Tennessee was playing well, but there was never a point when I thought we were going to lose."
Vanderbilt finally took command of the game by scoring the first eight points during overtime.
"I don't think the turning point came until the overtime," Vanderbilt's Kevin Anglin (pictured) said. "We had struggled the entire game. When we got to overtime I felt like we had a fresh start. We knew it was going to be a battle, and it was."
McCaffrey led Vanderbilt with 24 points as all five starters reached double figures. Bruce Elder finished with 21 points. Vanderbilt would go on to win a school-record 28 wins that season.
"Some of the pressure's off," Elder said. "But we're not satisfied with just a co-championship. We want it all. Tonight was a war and Saturday will probably be another war."
"It's been fun, but we still have a lot of basketball left to play this season," Anglin said,
Vanderbilt rolled through the 1994-95 season en route to earning the school's first-ever No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. In the first round of the tournament, Vanderbilt made quick work of Northern Illinois, 90-44, on March 17, 1995.
Vanderbilt was ranked No. 6 nationally and improved to 27-6 overall with the win. The Commodores used a 19-0 run after trailing 2-0 to bury Northern Illinois (17-13). It was Northern Illinois' largest margin of defeat all season.
"The thought of winning like this never really crossed our mind," freshman Lisa Ostrom said. "The point spread really doesn't matter - we just wanted to come out and play hard."
Vanderbilt held Northern Illinois to just 20.7 percent shooting from the floor as the Commodores built a 43-16 lead.
"Vanderbilt knew every move we were going to make," NIU senior Leslie Pottinger said. Pottinger entered the game as the team's leading scorer at 18.2 points per game, but was held to just three points.
"We knew we were going to have to box out, and they killed us on the offensive boards early and got a lot of second chances," NIU Head Coach Liz Galloway-McQuitter said.
"I think they're a Final Four team. I really do."
There was a crowd of 5,763 on hand to watch the Commodores.
For the first time in school history, Vanderbilt's women's basketball team defeated the nation's No. 1-ranked team when the Commodores upset Georgia, 71-66, on Feb. 16, 1996.
Georgia had a 19-game winning streak before facing the Commodores, and was a team that was coming off of a Final Four appearance.
Vanderbilt was paced by Sheri Sam (pictured), who scored a career-high 32 points and outdueled Georgia All-American Saudia Roundtree, who was limited to just 6-of-25 shooting.
"I was excited because they are the No. 1 team in the nation," Sam said. "It was great to play a team like that."
Sam scored 20 of her points in the second half and also collected 10 rebounds in the game.
"When a player like Sam gets going like that, she's tough to stop," Georgia Head Coach Andy Landers said.
The game was played before a crowd of 8,176 - the fifth largest crowd in school history at the time. Vanderbilt was ranked No. 13 at the time of the win and improved to 18-5 overall and 6-4 in the SEC. The Commodores had lost five of their last eight games before upsetting Georgia.
Georgia fell to 21-3 overall and 9-1 in the SEC after having its second-longest winning streak of all-time snapped.
"I have absolutely no idea what happened," Roundtree said. "No idea."
Third-seeded Vanderbilt moved on to its seventh straight Sweet 16 appearance with a 96-82 win over sixth-seeded Wisconsin on March 17, 1996.
The game was the last at Memorial for a senior class of Mara Cunningham (pictured), Sheri Sam and Ginger Jared, who helped lead VU to 106 wins and two SEC Tournament Championships.
Sam scored 28 points, grabbed eight rebounds, had five assists, four steals and a block in the win. The Commodores controlled the paint for the game, registering 10 blocked shots and shooting 63.3% for the game.
"She's really a great player," Wisconsin Head Coach Jan Albright-Dieterle said. "With most players, there is something about them that you can defend. But she stepped out and hit a three-pointer against us early, so we had to go out to guard her. And she was good on the inside, too. She's got it all."
"Sheri is quicker than people think," Vanderbilt Head Jim Foster said. "I think she might have been a little too big for Keisha (Anderson) I think when they put some bigger people on her she might have been a little too fast for them."
Vanderbilt improved to 22-7 with the win and would end its season in the Elite Eight. Wisconsin finished the year 21-8 after the loss.
"I think in the SEC there is a lot of bumping and grinding," Jim Foster said. "Outside of the SEC its' not as physical for us. I think that our stats will show that we shoot a higher percentage when we play non-SEC teams."
After missing three weeks from a stress fracture in her foot, Vanderbilt point guard Ashley McElhiney made her presence known in a big way against No. 13 LSU. McElhiney (pictured) scored a career-high 29 points, including the team's final 17 to lead No. 20 Vanderbilt to an 86-75 win on Feb. 15, 2001.
McElhiney did a lot of her damage at the free-throw line where she made 18-of-19 attempts, setting a school record for most attempts and tying the mark for most made. While scoring the team's final 17 points, McElhiney was a perfect 14-for-14 from the free-throw line.
"They were not going to take the ball away from (McElhiney) at the end of the game," Chantelle Anderson said. "You could see it in her eyes and you could hear it in her voice. It was obvious that she had the mindset that if they're going to foul me, I'm going to punish them by making foul shots."
McElhiney said after the game that even though she was hurt, she'd "been shooting in (her) boot."
The game was tied at 56 points with 11:04 to play before Vanderbilt went on an 11-0 run. LSU never got closer than four the rest of the way. VU outscored LSU 26-10 at free-throw line and outrebounded, LSU 34-20.
Anderson scored 28 points as VU improved to 17-7 overall and 6-5 in the SEC. LSU fell to 17-7 overall and 7-4 in the SEC. Zuzi Kimesova had 14 points and 12 rebounds.
"That must have been some kind of miracle medicine for Ashley," LSU Coach Sue Gunter said.
For the first time in four seasons, Vanderbilt was back in the Sweet 16 after defeating No. 20 Colorado, 65-59, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on March 19, 2001.
Three players recorded double-doubles in the game for the Commodores. Chantelle Anderson scored 22 points and collected 10 rebounds, Zuzi Klimesova had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and freshman Jennie Bennigfield scored 11 points and snagged 11 rebounds.
Colorado (22-9) led by as many as six points before the Commodores came back. The final tie was 48-48 before a hook shot by Klimesova put third-seeded Vanderbilt in front for good with 11:17 to play.
"We were spacewalking in the first half," Vanderbilt Head Coach Jim Foster said. "Playing a limited number of players like we do, they have to show up every night, mentally. We struggled for a while, but the biggest adjustment we made was that mentally we stepped up."
Vanderbilt improved to 23-9 with the win and would go on to defeat Iowa State to advance to the Elite Eight.
"People look at us and think we're a finesse team," Jim Foster said. "But we've rebounded, we've guarded people. I think we're more of a physical team than people give us credit for."
Anderson was on the bench with four fouls when Klimesova added a free throw, low-post bucket and a three-pointer to help put Vanderbilt up, 61-55, with 2:24 to play. Anderson sat on the bench for eight minutes because of foul trouble.
"When I went to the bench I was pretty disappointed," Chantelle Anderson said. "But this team is getting used to playing with me in foul trouble. I told Zuzi, `you've got me on this one.' She started scoring, posting up taking on their big girls. I was really proud of her."
The game was played in front of 4,392 fans that helped push Vanderbilt to victory.
"The crowd was great," Anderson said. "It helped a lot. It was a very emotional game, back and forth. We fed off their energy."
"It was nice to have that big a crowd without orange all over the place," Klimesova said.
Vanderbilt overcame Chantelle Anderson's first-half foul trouble to defeat No. 2 Tennessee, 76-59, on Feb. 2, 2002. Anderson, the team's leading scorer at more than 20 points per game, played less than four minutes in the first half after picking up her second foul 3:38 into the game.
Despite Anderson's absence, No. 8 Vanderbilt was able to overcome an 11-point first half deficit to tie the game at 29 heading into the locker room.
"We've gotten used to playing without Anderson over the course of time," Vanderbilt Head Coach Jim Foster said. "We know how to play without her. We play a different way. The floor is bigger. We have more spacing, get a little feisty. She's staying in games a lot more this year, but we have a frame of reference. It is one we'd like to put in the back of our minds."
After weathering the storm without Anderson in the first half, Vanderbilt welcomed its All-American center back into the fold in the second half. Back in the game, Anderson was dominant. She scored a game-high 22 points, all in the second half. She played all 20 minutes in the half and hit 9-of-11 shots from the field.
"We went into the locker room and Coach (Jim) Foster said a couple of things to me," Anderson said. "I just had to decide what kind of player I wanted to be. Did I want to be a player that my team could depend on in big games or did I want to be a player who they knew every time we had a big game I would not be there for them? I chose the first option."
The game was tied at 29 before two free throws after intermission by Jillian Danker put VU up for good. Vanderbilt led by as many as 12 points and held off a late Tennessee run that pulled the Lady Vols within six, 65-59, with 1:47 to play.
"We came together. Bottom line, we played as a team. We didn't play as five individuals," junior Ashley McElhiney said. "When Chantelle, our big girl, goes out of the game, we have to come together even more. We focus so much of our offense around her, when she goes out of the game, we have to do some things differently. We kept our composure. We kept playing defense, rebounding and I think that is what triggered it."
The win marked the first time Vanderbilt had defeated Tennessee in back-to-back games and was the first regular-season victory since the 1990-91 season.
"Vanderbilt was the better team for 40 minutes," UT Coach Pat Summitt said. "We were better for 10 minutes but it's a 40-minute game. Our front line can't play the way it did and beat a team like Vanderbilt, playing the way it played, on the road - not rebounding the ball, not playing good defense."
Jillian Danker finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Commodores, which improved to 20-5 overall and 6-3 in the SEC. Tennessee dropped to 18-2 overall and 7-1 in the SEC.
"We've set a standard," Danker said. "We know how we can play. We're capable of beating any team. When we go out and lose now, we know we're not playing up to the level we can play to."
Despite having to exit the game early, a foul by Anderson set the tone of the game early. Tennessee's Michelle Snow had dunked against Vanderbilt at Memorial Gym the previous year and had an open run at the basket before Anderson fouled her hard. "She wasn't going to dunk it again," Anderson said.
The play helped set the stage for the win that occurred in front of 14,168 fans in attendance.
"I love the atmosphere," Danker said. "If you can't be ready to play in this type environment, to play in a situation only a handful of people get to play in, you may not be breathing."
Vanderbilt would hammer No. 24 LSU, 74-54, on Feb. 21, 2004, but this day will be remembered for something more historic. Perry Wallace, the first African-American varsity basketball player in the SEC had his No. 25 jersey retired in a special halftime ceremony.
At the time, Wallace was just the third player in school history to have his jersey retired, joining Clyde Lee and Wendy Scholtens. Chantelle Anderson would have her jersey retired in 2011.
The day was declared "Perry Wallace Day" by the Nashville Metro Council in recognition of his return to campus.
"I'm very proud," Wallace said. "If someone had beaten on me from the first day to the last it would have been worth it. Here I am: a lawyer, a professor. Most of my students and colleagues are white. I make a good living. I am a lot smarter and know how to live in this world. Every day I benefit from having made sacrifices to be part of that venture. I reap."
The jersey retirement came before a crowd of 13,892 that saw Matt Freije score 22 points and Dawid Przybyszewski drop in a season-high 21 points. But the game was secondary this day.
"The most exciting thing to happen to our team (yesterday) was not this game," Stallings said. "Perry Wallace came in and talked to our team, and there were about 25 people riveted for about 35 or 40 minutes. ... It was absolutely one of the finest moments I've experienced as a college basketball coach."
Matt Freije refused to allow his Senior Day to be ruined by Tennessee. In a game in which the Commodores trailed by 14 points, the senior forward put his teammates on his back by scoring 19 second-half points to lead Vanderbilt to a come-from-behind victory over Tennessee on March 4, 2004.
"I don't think I've wanted a game down the stretch as much as I wanted that one," Freije said. "Thank God we won it."
The 61-58 victory gave Vanderbilt a winning record in SEC play and helped pave the way to an eventual Sweet 16 appearance.
With 13,455 in attendance, Freije (pictured) began to lead the comeback with Tennessee winning by 11 with 13:09 to play. A three-pointer by Freije with 1:57 to play gave Vanderbilt a 56-55 lead, its first since the opening minutes.
"I only wish we could have provided more excitement on Senior Night," Vanderbilt Head Coach Kevin Stallings quipped.
"It was Senior Night, and we were playing Tennessee,"Freije said. "I could not imagine a better way to leave Memorial Gym. I could not imagine a better Senior Night."
With the win, Vanderbilt set a school record for most home wins (15) in a season.
Tennessee's Scooter McFadgon, the SECs top free-throw shooter at 92 percent, aided Vanderbilt's comeback by missing the front end of two one-and-ones in the final five minutes.
"At times, you get winded and tired and you have to keep fighting through it," Tennessee Head Coach Buzz Peterson said. "That's what Freije did tonight. He got tired, but he hung in there. And with the experience he has, he knew he had to make winning plays, and he did."
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After blowing an 11-point lead, Vanderbilt appeared as if it would be unable to recover from a late-game collapse, but Shan Foster had other plans. With 3.7 seconds remaining, Derrick Byars drove the baseline and missed his runner, but Foster was there to put in the game-winner as the Commodores defeated Tennessee, 82-81, on Jan. 10, 2007.
"I thought it was going in," Foster said of Byars' shot. "And when it came off, my first thought was to get it up on the rim before time went out. And luckily, it was able to fall.
"A lot of games are won on tip-ins. I saw Derek go to the basket and I had no intentions of him missing that shot. When it did, my first thought was getting it up there on the rim before time ran up and luckily it went in."
The win halted a nine-game losing streak to Tennessee as the Commodores improved to 11-5 overall and 1-1 in the SEC. It was the fifth straight SEC home opener won by the Commodores. Tennessee fell to 13-3 overall and 1-1 in the SEC.
"I guess that's what rivalry games are all about," Stallings said. "Somebody wins on the last play, and tonight we had the last play. We scored, they scored, and then we scored again. ... We're excited about this win. We obviously needed to win this one badly."
Tennessee's Duke Crews had a dunk to put Tennessee up 81-80 with 4.7 seconds to play. After the dunk, the Vols thought they had forced a five-second violation, but a timeout was awarded to Vanderbilt's bench. With fouls to give, Tennessee fouled with 3.7 seconds to play and Vanderbilt called another timeout to draw up the final play.
"I drew it up just the way it happened," Vanderbilt Head Coach Kevin Stallings said. "Good thing my assistant talked me out of the other one. Ross (Neltner) made a terrific pass. I didn't think Derek was open, but he got the ball and went to the basket.
"They had a foul to give. We had to do something attacking the basket or they foul us before we do anything else. We didn't have any timeouts left. We wanted to do something going at the basket. Derek was our first choice. I'm not sure what I'd be sitting here saying if we didn't get that rebound."
Byars finished with 25 points, Dan Cage had 15 and Foster had 14. Tennessee's Chris Lofton led all scorers with 29 points.
"We have a little bit of a grudge against those guys," Cage said. "They swept us last year, but more than anything, it's a morale boost for us to beat a legit team like UT definitely gives us confidence."
"This was a difficult game to lose," Tennessee Head Coach Bruce Pearl said. "It was a great basketball game. Whoever lost the game, it would have been difficult."
Recap | Box Score
In the best shooting performance in the history of NCAA women's basketball, Vanderbilt connected on 76.2% of its shots (32-of-42) in a 91-51 victory against Alabama on Feb. 4, 2007.
"Once we got started, it was contagious," Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb said. "We came out extremely hot, but I was most impressed with our shot selection. We took great shots throughout the whole game."
The shooting performance surpassed the previous NCAA record of 75 percent by Ohio in 2001.
Caroline Williams (right) scored 17 points to lead No. 15 Vanderbilt, who jumped out to a 15-0 lead. Nine of the 15 points came off the fingers of Williams, who made three three-pointers in the opening minutes.
Eleven players scored as Vanderbilt improved to 20-4 overall and 6-3 in the SEC. Vanderbilt made 84 percent of its shots in the second half, sinking 21-of-25 attempts. Vanderbilt shot 64.7 percent in the first half.
Surprisingly, Vanderbilt shot worse from the free-throw line than it did from the field. The Commodores made just 18-of-26 attempts for 69.2%.
Vanderbilt broke its own SEC record for shooting percentage, topping the 72.5% (29-of-40) the Commodores shot against Arkansas in 2003 (a 76-59 win in Nashville).
During the game, Vanderbilt point guard Dee Davis became the 27th player in school history to join the 1,000-point club.
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It was Vanderbilt's ball on its homecourt and no one, not even the nation's No. 1 team was going to take it from them. At least that is how it was perceived when Vanderbilt Head Coach Kevin Stallings refused to hand the ball to Florida's Joakim Noah after a Commodore turnover during Vanderbilt's 83-70 win on Feb. 17, 2007.
Stallings' holding the ball from Noah until an official stepped in, was a lasting image from what was Vanderbilt's fifth all-time home win against the nation's No. 1 team.
Derrick Byars and Shan Foster each scored 24 points as the Commodores snapped the nation's longest winning streak and beat a team that had won the national championship in 2006 and would win it again in 2007.
"This is one for the ages," Byars said. "Twenty years from now, I'll be able to tell my little kids this. This is special. You can't explain it. You have to virtually be perfect, be as good as you've been all year. Guys did what they're supposed to do. Everybody stepped up."
Florida (24-3, 11-1 SEC) had won 35 of its last 37 games and had not lost since Dec. 3 at Florida State. The Gators had also won seven straight in the series. With the win the Commodores moved into second place in the SEC (18-8, 8-4 SEC).
"Well, that was a lot of fun," Stalling said. "Our team played with as much resolve and competitiveness as they possibly could. Shan (Foster) and Derrick (Byars) played like they had to in order for us to beat a team like Florida. We caught them on an afternoon where they missed shots they'd normally make. We were fortunate in some respects for that. Ted (Skuchas) played great off the bench and everyone who played had to play as well as they possibly could."
After the game, students in the sold-out crowd poured onto the court to celebrate the program's first win over a top-ranked team since 1993. The crowd played a large role in the Commodores' success.
"There was a lot of miscommunication and that's why they were getting good shots," Florida guard Lee Humphrey said. " You have trouble hearing, but you've got to find ways to communicate despite that."
Vanderbilt led by 13, but Florida cut the deficit to 46-40 with 14 minutes to play. However Foster answered with a three-point play. Later, a dunk by Byars capped the night as it gave Vanderbilt a 76-61 lead with 3:20 to play.
"A lot of people don't ever get the opportunity to play the No. 1 team in the country," Foster said. "We got the opportunity and seized the moment."
Vanderbilt shot 57.1 percent from the floor and Florida made 44 percent of its shots.
"We caught them on an afternoon where they missed shots they normally make," Stallings said.
Vanderbilt forced the Gators to turn it over a season-high 22 times. But it was what happened after a Vanderbilt turnover that everyone was talking about. Both Stallings and Noah downplayed the incident after the game.
"Noah's a competitor," Stallings said. "So am I."
"It was nothing," Noah said. "I was just trying to get the ball."
Recap & Highlights | Box Score | Russell's Photos
In its most dominating performance against rival Kentucky, No. 24/19 Vanderbilt rolled to a 93-52 win on Feb. 12, 2008. The 41-point win was the largest in series history and the fifth-largest loss all-time by Kentucky and its worst in conference play.
"We just got our tail kicked," Kentucky Head Coach Billy Gillispie said. "That's all there is to it. It's one loss, and we got our tail kicked, severely. Congratulations to Vanderbilt. They played fantastic. We'll move on. We'll make a positive out of it someway."
The game was filled with many eye-popping numbers. The Commodores led 41-11 at the half. Vanderbilt's Shan Foster outscored Kentucky until the 13:08 mark of the second half and Ross Neltner had done the same up until the 15:35 mark of the second half. Neltner's point total led Vanderbilt's student section to chant, "Neltner's winning" over and over again.
"I didn't think we could be ahead of someone 41-11 if those guys were playing us coaches," Vanderbilt Head Coach Kevin Stallings said. "It was just our night. I don't know how to explain it. It just happens when you least expect it."
Foster scored 20 points and A.J. Ogilvy added 19 points and 12 rebounds as Vanderbilt improved to 21-4 overall and 6-4 in the SEC. The win avenged a 79-73 double overtime loss at Kentucky on Jan. 12.
"To have them to stomp us into the ground like that, it's horrible," Kentucky freshman forward Patrick Patterson said. "They played like men, and we played like boys."
The previous largest margin of victory was, 30 points, an 81-51 victory on Feb. 8, 1989. It was Vanderbilt's third straight win against Kentucky in Memorial Gym and its fifth in the last six overall meetings with the Wildcats.
Kentucky had won five straight, including a victory over Tennessee, before the blowout.
Recap & Highlights | Box Score | Russell's Photos
For the first time in school history, Tennessee earned a No. 1 ranking following its win at then-No. 1 Memphis on a Saturday night. But just one day after Tennessee climbed to the top of the rankings for the first time in school history, Vanderbilt was there to make sure Volunteers' time spent at No. 1was as short-lived as possible as the Commodores defeated Tennessee 72-69 on Feb. 26, 2008.
"It's special," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. "We needed a win. It was a home game. It's a big game for them. You want to win any game, but you certainly want to win big games. This was a big game."
Vanderbilt's win was its sixth all-time against a No. 1 team at Memorial Gym as the Commodores improved to 6-3 all-time in home games against top-ranked foes. It was also Vanderbilt's fourth straight win over a No. 1 ranked team at home. The Commodores defeated No. 1 Florida at home the previous season.
"Tonight was different," senior Shan Foster said. "Last season, we were facing the defending national champions. This season, we lost to Tennessee by a big margin at their place and wanted to win badly. This season's game was more important."
A three-pointer by Alan Metcalfe with 14:20 to play broke a 43-all tie and VU never trailed again. Shan Foster scored 32 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including six threes to lead the No. 18/14 Commodores. Vanderbilt snapped Tennessee's nine-game winning streak and improved to 24-4 on the season and 9-4 in the SEC. Tennessee fell to 25-3 overall and 11-2 in the SEC. It was the first time the two teams met in Nashville as ranked teams since 1968.
"It's an honor," Foster said. "Coach Stallings told us that people go their entire career without facing the best team in the nation, so we knew how important this game was. We prepared well for the game."
With the win, the Commodores improved to 18-0 at home and had won 31 of its last 32 home games. It was Vanderbilt's seventh straight win as the Commodores moved into a tie with Kentucky for second in the SEC East, one game behind the Vols with three games to play.
"Our place was electric tonight," Stallings said. "This is one of the great places in college basketball on game night and our crowd was absolutely unbelievable."
Jermaine Beal added 17 points and Alex Gordon 11 for Vanderbilt.
A key to Vanderbilt winning was its defense on Tennessee's Wayne Chism who had 18 points and 18 rebounds in Vanderbilt's previous loss in Knoxville (80-60). On this night, he was held to four points and four rebounds. Chris Lofton led UT with 25 points.
"Foster is a great player and a great shooter," Tennessee Head Coach Bruce Pearl said. "He had six threes and got to the foul line obviously. He stepped up in a huge way."
Recap | Box Score | Foster's Highlights | Green's Photos
In one of if not the greatest individual performance by a Vanderbilt player at Memorial Gym, forward Shan Foster put the team on his shoulders and willed the 16th-ranked Commodores to an 86-85 overtime win on Senior Night against No. 25 Mississippi State on March 5, 2008.
After missing his first six three-pointers, Foster made his final nine-three-point attempts to finish the game with 42 points, tying a school record for the most points at Memorial Gym by a Commodore.
Foster's three-pointers, many of which defied logic, came with multiple hands in his face and were well beyond the three-point line, helped Vanderbilt complete its home schedule with a perfect 19-0 record.
"Shan was just incredible tonight," Vanderbilt Head Coach Kevin Stallings said. "I can't really put it into words. I saw the guy (Matt Freije) who's scoring record that he broke. One night I think he (Freije) scored all but two of our points in a half and brought us back for a come-from-behind victory (Tennessee, 2004). That was pretty amazing, but not quite as amazing as this. This was just on another level. Lord have mercy, that was amazing. I'm glad I spent all that time teaching him how to shoot."
Foster's heroics were still almost not enough to pull the Commodores through to victory. With 24.3 seconds to play Mississippi State senior guard and Nashville native Jamont Gordon toed the line for two free throws. He made the first, but missed the second, providing just a three-point margin for Mississippi State. With 14.5 seconds to play, Foster made Gordon pay with a three-pointer to tie the game. Gordon would then miss a last-ditch layup attempt to send the game in overtime.
In overtime, Mississippi State led 84-80 with 36.2 seconds to play, but Foster again pulled the Commodores back from the brink of defeat. Foster scored the team's final eight points and his three-pointer with 29.6 seconds to play pulled the Commodores within one, 84-83. Vanderbilt would foul immediately and send Ben Hansbrough to the line. Hansbrough would make the first free throw, but he missed the second. The crack was all Foster would need.
With time running out, Foster made his ninth straight three-pointer to give Vanderbilt the win after Mississippi State's last-second heave from just past halfcourt was no good.
"This is the first game I hit nine 3s," Foster said. "To hit nine in a row, that blows my mind. I mean there's a big difference between hitting nine in shooting practice with Red (Alex Gordon) when we're challenging each other and hitting nine in a row with the other team trying with everything in them to stop you from shooting the ball ... that amazed me. That was crazy."
The win was Vanderbilt's 25th of the season, matching the 1992-93 team for most in regular season history as the Commodores improved to 25-5 overall and 10-5 in the SEC.
"My teammates did a great job of finding me when I was open," Foster said. "God took care of the rest. Some of those shots, I was amazed. I was deep on a lot of them," Foster said, shaking his head. "I put it up there, and the Lord took care of the rest. That's the only way I can describe it."
Following the final horn, Foster made his way over to his family in the stands and embraced them as the crowd wildly roared. Foster then embraced Coach Stallings (pictured).
"After the game, I went over and hugged my mom and my grandmother and they were all crying and that's when it hit me that this was my last game here. The fans have been unbelievable. From day one they took me in as family, as a part of them and it means so much to me. My coaching staff, my teammates, just being a part of this. This is a true college experience and I have enjoyed every bit of it. That's why you see tears out of my eyes. They're not tears of sadness, they're tears of joy. I've been able to have the greatest college experience that I can imagine." - Foster said.
The 14,316 fans in attendance were treated to something they likely will never see again, and they are the only ones who can say they saw maybe the single greatest individual Commodore performance in school history because the game was not televised anywhere.
"You can't say anything else about it," Mississippi State Head Coach Rick Stansbury said. "He jumped up in a stressful situation and made shots. Absolutely nothing else I would have done different, and absolutely nothing else I could have done. He jumped up and made 30-footers with someone in his face."
A.J. Ogilvy had 16 points and Alex Gordon had 14 points for the Commodores. Gordon finished with 24 points for Mississippi State (20-9, 11-4 SEC), but each of their performances were overshadowed by Foster.
"It took Shan a while to get going but once he did that was about as special a performance as I've ever seen," Stallings said. "I couldn't be happier for him as an individual and I couldn't be happier for a group of guys. We were up against it whatever you want to say all night. We could never get control of it."
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In a battle for first place in the SEC, No. 18 Vanderbilt defeated No. 3 Auburn, 73-70, on Feb. 19, 2009, to tie the Tigers atop the league standings.
Vanderbilt led by as many as 18 points, but Auburn did not give up. The Tigers' only lead was 3-0, but they were within one, 71-70, with 11.6 seconds to play when Merideth Marsh was fouled. Marsh made two free throws and Auburn's Sherell Hobbs' three-pointer from the right corner was off the mark.
"It was awful tough because they fought back," Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb said. "They're a great team, and we just had a good cushion. We didn't foul. We almost got tentative and didn't get the transition buckets. But down the stretch, everybody made big plays that we needed."
The win on Senior Night helped Vanderbilt finish its home SEC schedule undefeated as the Commodores knocked off its second top 10 team within the last eight days.
"We're starting to figure things out," Vanderbilt senior Christina Wirth said. "This is always when we start playing our best basketball at the end of the season when we should be. It takes a while to figure that out. We've done that. ... Now we're growing up as a team, we're going to go on the road and take care of business."
The loss was just Auburn's second of the season as the Tigers fell to 25-2 overall and 10-2 in the SEC. It snapped a five-game winning streak.
Jence Rhoads led Vanderbilt with a career-high 16 points. Wirth and Jennifer Risper (pictured) each had 14 apiece. Vanderbilt improved to 21-6 overall and 10-2 in the SEC.
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No. 4 Tennessee came from behind to beat Vanderbilt 65-57 on Feb. 13, 2011, but it was not the game that made it such a memorable day. Former Commodore great Chantelle Anderson became just the fourth Vanderbilt basketball player to have her jersey retired.
The halftime ceremony followed the recognition of more than 30 former Commodores who returned to Nashville for the inaugural women's basketball reunion.
"It was so surreal to see my jersey unveiled in Memorial Gym, somewhere I was so honored to play for four years," Anderson said. " I'm speechless ... it is one of those things you can't put into words. I'm just so thankful and honored."
On the court, Vanderbilt held Tennessee to only 15 points in the first half, but the Lady Vols came back in the second half with 50 points to defeat Vanderbilt.
Anderson's jersey retirement was the first for Vanderbilt since Perry Wallace had his jersey raised to the rafters in 2004.
Recap | Box Score | Howell's Photos | Highlights
Never has Vanderbilt scored more points against Tennessee than it did on Feb. 2, 2012 when the Commodores defeated the 11th-ranked Lady Vols, 93-79, before a crowd of 12,034.
Vanderbilt had dropped 23 of its previous 24 meetings against Tennessee, but this night would belong to the Commodores. Energized by a vocal crowd, Vanderbilt scorched the nets to a tune of 55.7% and had four players score in double figures.
Tiffany Clarke scored 23 points, Christina Foggie scored 22 and Stephanie Holzer had 19. Jasmine Lister (pictured) had her first double-double with 19 points and career-high 13 assists.
"We weren't all on, but we were pretty hot, most of us," Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb said. "Foggie hitting her threes, Jazz (Jasmine) her pull, Steph and Tiff being unstoppable on the block; that was tough to defend."
With the win Vanderbilt improved to 19-5 overall and 7-4 in the SEC. Tennessee fell to 17-7 overall and 8-3 in the SEC.
"I just didn't think we brought the energy early on, and we didn't sustain our runs," Tennessee Head Coach Pat Summitt said on her post game radio show. "Really just a big, big disappointment. Vanderbilt 93, Tennessee 79. That says everything."
Vanderbilt led for most of the game, but an 18-4 run by Tennessee gave the Lady Vols a 54-52 lead with 9:36 to play. The lead was its first since 6-5, but Vanderbilt roared back with a 17-2 run to put the game away for good.
"It feels good to have a team that is as happy as they are right now and had the fight and determination after they lost the lead to turn it around," Balcomb said. "I just enjoy watching them be so happy. I don't remember a Vanderbilt team that had so much fun playing so hard and that is a good feeling."
The 93 points scored were the most in series history by the Commodores, besting the previous high of 88 in a 2004 loss. Vanderbilt dominated the paint, outscoring Tennessee 52-28 inside.
The crowd in attendance was the 12th largest in school history and the biggest since 2008. A large part of the environment was created by the students who came out in force. Many arrived early, hoping to be among the first 1,000 to be rewarded with priority seating for ESPN GameDay and Saturday's men's basketball game.
"The crowd tonight was just awesome and the environment was the best it has been since I've been here as well," Balcomb said. "The students coming out means everything to this program and the environment and the atmosphere. If the students came to every game like that, we wouldn't lose a game at home. That is such an incredible environment. "They made a huge difference in this game because when we got tired, we got energy from our crowd."
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