Vanderbilt has relied heavily all season on the offensive production of Shan Foster and A.J. Ogilvy.
Never was the dynamic duo more needed than Wednesday, when Foster and Ogilvy combined for 49 points to lead the 23rd-ranked Commodores to an 83-80 victory over Wake Forest before 13,658 at Memorial Gym.
Vanderbilt, plagued by missed layups, turnovers and a comedy of errors, remained undefeated by getting 26 points from Foster and 23 from Ogilvy.
The play of Ogilvy, a freshman center, was particularly decisive when the Demon Deacons grabbed a 78-76 lead with 1:40 remaining.
He scored six straight points, including a jump-hook with 33.7 seconds left, to give the Commodores an 80-78 advantage. He added two free throws with 16.1 seconds to go to nail down the victory.
Foster, meanwhile, canned four three-pointers and matched his season-high point total.
“Defenses pretty much have to pick their poison,” Foster said. “Are they going to let me shoot jump shots, or are they going to let A.J. score?”
Wake Forest (5-1) had answers for neither. And somehow, Vanderbilt survived despite shooting a season-low 44.1 percent from the field and coughing up several untimely turnovers.
“There were some weird plays,” VU coach Kevin Stallings said. “It wasn’t a thing of beauty and wasn’t necessarily a well-played game, but it was a game that was played extremely hard by both teams. I’m glad we were able to come out on the long end of it.”
Vanderbilt raced to a 10-point first-half lead but settled into a possession-by-possession battle in the second half. Wake Forest, making only 27.6 percent of its three-pointers entering the game, swished 13 of 29 Wednesday.
A trey by Ishmael Smith tied the game at 72 with 5:13 left. With 1:40 to go, a layup by James Johnson gave the Demon Deacons a 78-76 advantage, their first lead since the game’s opening minutes.
Ogilvy tied the score at 78 with a pair of free throws with 1:29 remaining, then put the Commodores ahead for a good with a right-handed jump hook.
“I’ve been practicing that move a lot,” Ogilvy said. “It’s my favorite move. I knew it would go in.”
Wake Forest anticipated an entry pass to Ogilvy.
“He’s a terrific player,” Deacons coach Dino Gaudio said. “We thought they would go in to him.”
Wake Forest had one last gasp when a put-back basket by L.D. Williams trimmed the lead to 82-80 with 4.1 seconds left. The Deacons were forced to foul VU guard Jermaine Beal, who made one of two free throws with 1.2 seconds to go.
Johnson led Wake Forest with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
GOLD NUGGETS: Foster moved into 12th place on Vanderbilt’s career scoring list Wednesday with 1,483 points, passing former guard Scott Draud. …Ogilvy has scored 20 or more points in four games this season. …With five assists Wednesday, Commodore point guard Jermaine Beal has recorded five or more in the past three games. He has 31 in the past six games. …VU football player Jamie Graham, who joined the basketball team this week as a walk-on, dressed for Wednesday’s game but didn’t play. …Coaches and players from Vanderbilt’s 2007 baseball team received their SEC championship rings at halftime of Wednesday’s game.