SEC leading scorer John Jenkins sparked a second-half comeback
in Vanderbilt’s last game. Jeffery Taylor was the go-to scorer in
the team’s most recent matchup with Auburn.
The league’s second highest-scoring duo will try to get the
18th-ranked Commodores off to a better start Saturday at Auburn
Arena, where they go for their season high-tying fifth consecutive
Jenkins, averaging a career-best 19.8 points, hit five
3-pointers and scored all 21 of his points after halftime in
Wednesday’s 64-56 victory at Georgia. Vanderbilt (19-6, 7-4)
overcame a 14-point second-half deficit after scoring 21 in the
first half and shooting a season-low 21.6 percent in the opening 20
“Their defense was so good, it was hard to do anything,” said
Jenkins, a sophomore averaging 26.5 points and hitting 11 of 20
from 3-point range in the last two games. “I got that one little
good look, and that boosted my confidence for the rest of the
The Commodores are second in the East, two games behind Florida
and one ahead of Kentucky, Georgia and Tennessee.
In an 82-74 win over Auburn on Jan. 23, 2010, it was Taylor
carrying the Commodores to victory following a sluggish first half.
The forward had all 18 of his points in the second half as
Vanderbilt outscored the Tigers 50-31 in the final 20 minutes to
win its fourth straight in this matchup.
Jenkins had nine points off the bench.
Jenkins and Taylor, scoring a combined 34.1 points per game –
second only to Kentucky’s Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight (35.4)
in the SEC – might not need big late-game efforts in this
Auburn (9-16, 2-9) has dropped nine of 11 and is last in the SEC
West. Coming off a 65-62 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday
when it erased a 19-point second half deficit to earn its first
league home win of the season, coach Tony Barbee’s team was awful
on both ends of the floor in Wednesday’s 90-59 loss at
The Tigers committed 17 turnovers, and the Rebels shot 70.0
percent in the second half – 56.8 percent overall.
“It just makes it hard when you can’t score,” Barbee told the
school’s official website. “It goes back to what we did in the
first half. We played good defense and had them stuck on 15 for
five minutes. We just couldn’t score.”
Auburn had just one player in double figures – freshman guard
Chris Denson, who had a season-high 16 points. The starting five of
Allen Payne, Kenny Gabriel, Adrian Forbes, Josh Wallace and Earnest
Ross combined for 26.
The Tigers, 11th in the 12-team SEC in scoring at 63.3 points
per game, could struggle again if Vanderbilt can duplicate
The Commodores held the Bulldogs to just three free throws in
the final 9:47.
“When we started making (shots) I thought it energized our
defense and we started getting more stops and we rebounded the ball
great which was the difference for us tonight,” coach Kevin
Vanderbilt, looking for its sixth 20-win season in eight years,
trailed by as many as 16 in the first half of its last visit to
Auburn – an 82-75 victory on Jan. 31, 2009.
The Commodores lead the all-time series 81-51.