VU and WKU to meet at Sun Belt Classic
Dec. 10, 2009
Vanderbilt and Western Kentucky will face off in the nightcap of the 2009 Sun Belt Classic at the Nashville Arena this Friday night at 8:30 p.m. The game will follow the Tennessee-Middle Tennessee State game, which begins at 6 p.m. The game will be televised on CSS, and the action can also be heard live on the Vanderbilt-ISP Radio Network and vucommodores.com, with Joe Fisher and Tim Thompson courtside calling all of the action.
The Commodores are coming off of a 79-68 loss to Illinois Tuesday in Champaign, a game in which the Illini shot 59.3% from the floor and 53.3% from three. Vanderbilt fell behind early in the game and never led, as Illinois maintained a 10-point cushion for most of the contest. VU did cut the margin to seven points on two separate occasions in the second half, but could not overcome Illinois' hot shooting. Four Vanderbilt players scored in double figures, with Brad Tinsley and Jeffery Taylor leading the way with 12 points apiece. Jermaine Beal and John Jenkins each added 11 points in the game as well.
Vanderbilt's two losses on the season occurred the day of or day before the team entered the top 25. The Commodores dropped a 67-58 decision to Cincinnati in Maui on November 23, the day they moved into the top 25 in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today poll at #24, and then lost to Illinois on December 8, the day after moving back into the ESPN/USA Today poll at the number 24 position.
The Commodores are led in scoring and rebounding by Taylor, who averages 15.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Beal adds 13.4 points per contest, and junior center A.J. Ogilvy chips in 13.3 points per game. Ogilvy is second on the team in rebounding at 6.1 rebounds per game.
This will be the 24th career meeting between the two schools, with Vanderbilt holding a 13-10 advantage in the series. The Commodores hav won 10 consecutive games against the Hilltoppers, dating back to the 1962-63 season. The last time the two teams met was also in the Nashville Arena on December 2, 2001, when Vanderbilt came away with an 80-75 win.
The series between the two schools began in the 1925-26 season, but the teams have met only three times since the 1980-81 campaign.
Western Kentucky enters the game Friday night with a 4-3 overall record after defeating Evansville, 63-57, in their last time out December 8.
A.J. Slaughter leads three WKU players in double figures with 14.9 points per game. Sergio Kerusch (13.1) and Steffphon Pettigrew (12.3) also average double digits for the Hilltoppers. Pettigrew leads WKU on the glass with 7.1 rebounds per game.
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