ATLANTA – Auburn coach Jeff Lebo said his team faced a man-against-boys mismatch Thursday against Vanderbilt.
Center A.J. Ogilvy scored a game-high 27 points against the undersized Tigers to lead the 18th-ranked Commodores to a 93-82 victory in the first round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament at the Georgia Dome.
Try as it might, Auburn had no answer.
“It kind of reminds me of playing in my backyard against my 6-year-old son,” Lebo said. “I can score on him whenever I want. That’s what it was like out there.”
Ogilvy’s dominance opened the perimeter for teammate Shan Foster, who scored 26 points, and Vanderbilt produced its most efficient offensive effort of the season by shooting 67.3 percent from the field.
The Commodores scored their most points ever in an SEC Tournament game.
Ogilvy made 12 of 13 shots, while Foster sank six of nine 3-pointers.
The Commodores improved to 26-6 and will play Arkansas on Friday in a second-round game.
Ogilvy scored eight of Vanderbilt’s first 10 points, setting the tone for the day. Even when Auburn made a second-half rally, VU’s superior size proved decisive.
“We feel like we have an advantage inside with A.J. and the things that he’s able to do and bring to our team,” Foster said. “Whenever he’s playing the way he did today, it makes it easy for a lot of other guys on this team to jump up and make shots.”
Shooting 76 percent in the first half, Vanderbilt surged to a 13-point lead before the Tigers fought back. A 3-pointer by Lucas Hargrove with 11:29 remaining made it 61-56.
The Commodores, not surprisingly, went inside and came up with a game-clinching 10-0 run. In that spurt, Foster and Alex Gordon scored on layups.
Moments later, a layup by Gordon pushed the lead to 76-59 with 6:49 to go. Ogilvy again got into the act, scoring seven straight points to extend the margin to 83-68 and ending Auburn’s season.
“That’s one of their strengths,” Auburn’s Frank Tolbert said of the Commodores. “They’re a very good shooting team. We felt they weren’t going to be hitting them like that the whole game, but it seems like they were.”
Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings was pleased with his team’s offensive precision, which helped the Commodores produce their the most points in an SEC Tournament game since 1979.
“I thought our team did a great job of moving the ball and being patient with it and getting it inside,” he said. “We really kind of made an emphasis on not taking quick threes early in the clock, being more patient and trying to get the ball to A.J. as much as we could.
“I thought our guys really bought into the game plan and executed it very well. So that was really kind of the difference in the game.”
Rasheem Barrett led Auburn [14-14] with 20 points.