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December 6, 2012

Fuller's 25 leads VU to OT win over Xavier

CINCINNATI , OH -- Vanderbilt came from 13 down in the second half to send the game to overtime, and then a gutsy performance by junior Kyle Fuller sent the Commodores to a 66-64 upset win over 6-2 Xavier at Cintas Center in Cincinnati.

Fuller finished with a career-high 25 points, including seven of 10 free throws. Fuller scored all 12 of his team's points in overtime.

Kedren Johnson had 19 points, four steals and three assists for VU, while Kevin Bright had 11.

Xavier put four players into double figures: Travis Taylor had 15, James Martin scored 13, Samej Christon had 12, and Isiah Philmore scored 11.

Vanderbilt shot just 45% from the field for the game, but hit four of their six shots in overtime.

VU was helped by hitting nine of their 27 3-point attempts. Fuller, Kedren Johnson, Kevin Bright and Rod Odom each sank two 3s. Xavier had a considerable edge in the paint, but came out even on the boards with both teams grabbing 29. The Musketeers missed 15 of 20 3-point attempts for the game, and were just nine-for-17 from the free throw line.

The Musketeers built a 13-point lead early in the second half, but VU went on a 17-4 run to tie the game at 47-47.

When the team went down 13, Stallings called a time out and basically read his team the Proverbial riot act.

"Coach got in our face, and he said we need to step up," said Fuller. "He said we're gonna grow up now, and we're gonna grow up fast."

"We had some interesting things said in the time out, things that I would not repeated that I wouldn't want people know I said," admitted head coach Kevin Stallings. "Their big guys were just whipping us.

"My cup overfloweth," quipped Stallings.

"After that they started playing harder. I didn't want to be an idiot but it worked."

Stallings admitted that even though they played well, Xavier just never could seem to make the plays to put them away. "It was interesting because it was almost like we were trying to give it to them and they wouldn't take it. So we just finally decided to take it."

The win pushes the Commodores to 3-4, and hands Xavier just their second loss of the season. "Really happy for my team," said Stallings. "You need something like this to give you hope and believe and some of the things you need to feel as a competitive athlete."

"Twenty-one in the second half was really outstanding," continued Stallings, referencing the number of points his team held Xavier to after halftime. "When they went up by 13 I thought our guys dug in and played with a different level of aggressiveness.

"Other than not make our free throws, I thought we did okay. For a team that is challenged the way this team is challenged I am really happy for them."

VU returns to Nashville for finals week, and does not play again until a December 15 home game versus Alabama A&M.

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