NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — John Jenkins scored 18 points and Jeffery Taylor added 16 as Vanderbilt held off Georgia 77-66 Saturday for the Commodores’ seventh straight win and to remain undefeated in Southeastern Conference play.
The Commodores (13-4, 3-0) didn’t lead by more than six until Lance Goulbourne grabbed a rebound off Festus Ezeli’s missed free throw and laid it back up for a 68-60 lead with 2:58 left. Vanderbilt sealed this victory at the free-throw line where the Commodores hit 15 of 22 in the final 4:53.
Goulbourne finished with 13 points.
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Georgia (9-8, 0-3) never went away in losing its third straight overall and fifth straight in this series. Vincent Williams hit a 3 to pull the Bulldogs within 62-60, but they never got any closer. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had a team-high 19 points, including four 3-pointers. Gerald Robinson finished with 15 and Donte’ Williams added 12 before fouling out.
Vanderbilt wound up outrebounding Georgia 35-27 with a big edge at the free-throw line (30 of 44) compared to Georgia (16 of 20).
The Bulldogs had plenty of chances in the final 90 seconds.
Taylor was called for a foul and a technical apparently for yelling. Dustin Ware hit both free throws on the technical with 1:21 left, then Tim Dixon went to the line for what was called a one-and-one even though both teams were in the bonus. Dixon missed the first, and Robinson missed a couple 3s in a scrambling flurry.
Georgia didn’t score again as the Commodores hit 7 of 8 at the line in the final 1:07.
This was a much tougher game for the Commodores who had been rolling over opponents in this streak. Vanderbilt led 36-32 at halftime after a half where Georgia outshot the Commodores and outworked them on the boards for most of the first 20 minutes. Donte’ Williams scored the first six points of the game for Georgia.
Caldwell-Pope, the freshman guard, kept the Bulldogs close in the second half.
Vanderbilt led by as much as six, the last at 40-34 on a pair of free throws within the opening minute on Donte’ Williams’ third foul. Then Caldwell-Pope hit three straight 3s and had another go in and out. His third gave Georgia its last lead at 45-44 with 13:51 left.
Dai-Jon Parker put Vanderbilt ahead to stay at 46-45, driving the baseline for a layup with 12:39 to go. That started a 9-2 run, capped by Rod Odom’s 3-pointer, to match the Commodores’ biggest lead of the game with 9:20 left. Caldwell-Pope, with Taylor back guarding him, missed a couple 3s during the stretch.