A.J. Ogilvy started on the bench but finished with a rare place in Vanderbilt basketball history.
The junior center joined Will Perdue as the only Commodores ever with at least 1,000 points and 100 blocks in a career when he recorded his third blocked shot in Monday’s season-opening 95-73 victory over Lipscomb at Memorial Gymnasium.
Following an injury sustained early in preseason workouts, Ogilvy had not yet displayed his peak form when the start to the season arrived. Thus the decision by coach Kevin Stallings to open with sophomore Festus Ezeli in the low post.
It was just the third time in his career Ogivly played but came off the bench.
“As long as we win, that’s all I care about,” Ogilvy said.
As of now, the Australian native has scored 1,039 points and blocked 100 shots in 64 career appearances. Perdue had 1,281 points and 157 blocked shots in 104 contests from 1984-88.
More importantly, throughout the second half he looked increasingly like the player who was the first in school history to reach 1,000 points before the end of his sophomore season. He finished with 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, of which 13 points and six rebounds came after halftime.
He was one of four VU players who finished in double figures. Jeffery Taylor had a game-high 20, Jermaine Beal had 17, including nine during a 25-10 run to open the game, and Brad Tinsley had 10.
Josh Slater led Lipscomb with 20. Adnon Hodzic added 18, and Brandon Brown contributed 12.
“I didn’t really have my touch there in the first half,” Ogilvy said. “I finally was starting to get it back in the second half. I’m definitely getting back to where I was, which is good.”
Not coincidentally, the Commodores pulled away over those final 20 minutes after a 15-5 run by Lipscomb late in the first half got the Bisons within seven, 43-36, at intermission.
Brown capped the half with a 3-pointer at the buzzer as Lipscomb cut a 14-point deficit in half over the final 4:31. It was the Bisons’ seventh 3-pointer (on 12 attempts) of the half.
“We tried to step it up defensively, and we knocked down a couple of shots,” Slater said. “We didn’t play well enough at the start of the game and we dug a hole.”
Ogilvy’s layup with 8:46 to go started a 12-3 run, which pushed the Commodores’ advantage beyond 20 points for the first time.
He added two free throws during that stretch, and the noteworthy block came with 8:33 remaining.
“I thought (Ogilvy) was a little out of rhythm in the first half, and the second half he got his rhythm,” Stallings said. “The last two days of practice you could see it coming. So it’s just a matter of time before we get him back to where he’s back.”
Already he’s secured a significant place in program history.
• Lipscomb opened its season two days earlier with a 91-86 loss to Elon. The Bisons committed 18 turnovers in that one and 23 against Vanderbilt.
“I guess it’s getting close to Christmas and we’re in the holiday spirit, giving a lot of stuff away,” coach Scott Sanderson said. “
• Vanderbilt’s 95 points were the most scored in a season-opener since a 96-61 victory over Liberty, eight years ago to the day. It also was the highest total in any game since a 96-83 victory over South Carolina back on Feb. 28.