There were seven minutes left in the first half Saturday when Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings barked at center A.J. Ogilvy.
“Come A.J., wake up,” Stallings challenged.
Ogilvy had just missed his second free throw (in three attempts) and had not scored a basket. He did more than just wake up. He came to life.
By the end of the Commodores’ 67-54 victory over DePaul he had a game-high 19 points, which included 12 free throws (on 12 attempts) in the second half. It was similar to his performance three days earlier, when he scored 18 of his game-high 25 in the second half of an 89-83 victory over Missouri.
Those performances earned him the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week award, it was announced Monday. The junior out of Australia had 44 points, 12 rebounds and two blocked shots and one steal in two games as he earned the award for the first time in his career. He was Freshman of the Week three times in 2007-08.
“I was more aggressive (Saturday) night and I just came out and tried to get some good touches inside,” Ogilvy said.
Ogilvy averaged eight points in the Commodores’ first four games, but has more than doubled that to 21.3 in the three games since.
He will try to maintain that pact Tuesday, when Vanderbilt (6-1) plays at Illinois (6-2), which is 5-0 at home this season. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. at Assembly Hall in Champaign, Ill., and the Big Ten Network (Comcast Ch. 266) will televise the contest.
Ogilvy had team-highs of 13 points and seven rebounds last season against Illinois, a game the Commodores lost 69-63.
“They’re good, and they’re extremely well-coached,” Stallings said of Illinois. “… They’ve got good players, and they have three guys we played a lot against last year with a couple freshmen who are outstanding players.
“… We’ll have to be real solid and real tight if we want to get done there what we want to get done.”
In other words, they can’t expect to sleepwalk through the game.