Rocky Topped:Vandy Gets Season Sweep

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jeffery Taylor scored 16 of his career-high 26 points in the first half, and Vanderbilt (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today, No. 22 AP) never trailed Tuesday night in routing No. 12 Tennessee 90-71. The Commodores (18-5, 7-2) grabbed sole possession of second place in the Southeastern Conference’s Eastern Division, one loss behind Kentucky (No. 2 ESPN/USA Today, No. 3 AP). They also swept the season series against their instate rival for the first time since 2004-05 — the season before coach Bruce Pearl took over Tennessee. Tennessee (18-5, 6-3) had a three-game winning streak snapped. Jermaine Beal scored 20 points and A.J. Ogilvy had 11 for Vanderbilt, which didn’t miss reserve John Jenkins. The freshman who had been averaging 10.4 points was hospitalized with the flu. J.P. Prince led Tennessee with 19 points, Wayne Chism had 16, Melvin Goins 11 and Scotty Hopson 10. Brian Williams, suspended for nine games after a New Year’s Day arrest, returned to the rotation but didn’t enter the game until 13:34 was left and the game well in the Commodores’ control. The Commodores needed this game, the first of five of six in Memorial Gym, and they were coming off an ugly 72-58 loss at Georgia. They beat Tennessee 85-76 in Knoxville on Jan. 27, and they never let Tennessee get started in the Vols’ visit to Music City as they won for the third time in four games in this series. They improved to a perfect 12-0 at home this season, 17 straight dating to a Jan. 25, 2009, loss to Florida. The Commodores scored the first six points and led 44-27 at halftime. They hit eight of their first 11 shots as Tennessee missed 14 of its first 17 and eventually led by as many as 27 points twice. The Volunteers got as close as 10 points early in the second half as Prince scored to pull them within 46-36. He missed the free throw and the chance to cut the lead to single digits for the first time since the opening minutes. Vanderbilt responded with a 20-3 run to put the game away, and Festus Ezeli capped the spurt with two free throws with 12:38 left that gave the Commodores their biggest lead yet at 66-39. The sellout crowd taunted the Vols late by chanting “Lane Kiffin” — the name of the football coach that bolted Tennessee for Southern California last month. Taylor hadn’t scored more than 10 points in a game since Jan. 23 against Auburn. He couldn’t miss against Tennessee as the sophomore was 4 of 5 from the field and perfect on all eight free throws for his most points in the first half since 13 against Missouri on Dec. 2. Pearl, wearing his orange blazer for the rivalry, drew a technical foul at 12:14. It was just a blip as Vanderbilt eventually pushed its lead to as many as 20 when Taylor hit two free throws to make it 30-10 with 8:46 remaining.