Feb. 14, 2007
Everyone knew that the Commodores needed to protect its home court Wednesday as they faced a scrappy Gamecock squad in a pivotal late-season swing game. South Carolina arrived in Nashville with a 2-8 conference record, but had been playing better basketball of late. In fact, in six of its past seven SEC games, the Gamecocks had not been outscored by more than six points. Angry after Saturday's double-digit loss in Knoxville, Derrick Byars decided to take matters into his own hands by contributing one of the best performances of his Commodore career. The senior swingman scorched USC with 32 points on 11-of-15 shooting, both personal bests. He also spent some of the night locking down Gamecock all-star Tre' Kelley. Kelley may have poured in 21 points, but was held without a field goal in the final 11:55 of the game. With Byars carrying the load, the Commodores moved into a second place tie with Kentucky in the SEC East (7-4). Next up for the 'Dores is a showdown against Florida, the nation's top-ranked team, this Saturday in Memorial.
NO. 1 FLORIDA SATURDAY
That's right. The defending national champions come to town Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for noon CT. We need all Commodore fans to show up to the Gym early to give our team that "sixth man" home advantage.
CN All Access (FREE): Joe Fisher's Post-Game Interview with Kevin Stallings
Next Home Game: Saturday, Feb. 17 vs. Florida at Noon
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Vanderbilt's Derrick Byars scored a career-high 32 points on 11-of-15 shooting in a 78-68 win over South Carolina on Wednesday night.
Vanderbilt (17-8, 7-4 Southeastern Conference) was 11-of-24 from 3-point range and had three other scorers in double figures -- Shan Foster and Alex Gordon with 14 each, and Dan Cage with 11.
South Carolina (12-12, 2-9) jumped out to a 12-4 lead behind the unlikely duo of Dominique Archie and Bryce Sheldon, who had 12 and 10 first-half points respectively.
The Commodores blanketed Tre' Kelley, the SEC's leading scorer in league games, by double-teaming him for most of the first half.
Byars carried a slow-starting Vanderbilt offense with 19 first-half points, 12 of those in a 30-13 Commodore run that gave Vandy a 34-25 lead.
But the Gamecocks' Kelley got free for two quick 3-pointers, then added a pair of free throws and a 2-pointer to cut the Vandy lead to 37-35 at halftime.
Vandy built the lead to 48-40 early in the second half, but the Gamecocks took a 57-55 lead on a layup by Brandon Wallace, who had a game-high 13 rebounds.
Byars followed with a 3 and Vandy never trailed again. Alex Gordon's two 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions, the last one giving Vanderbilt a 66-61 lead, were key down the stretch as Carolina never got within five again.
Kelley had 21 points, Sheldon 18 and Archie 15 to lead the Gamecocks.