The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

January 24, 2013

Johnson, Vanderbilt top Auburn 73-61

— NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — When Vanderbilt guards Kyle Fuller and Kevin Bright moved from the starting lineup to the bench, each handled the demotions differently.

After three games as reserves, though, their contributions off the bench have been equally significant for the Southeastern Conference's lowest-scoring team. Fuller scored 14 points and Bright added 12 to lead the Commodores to a 73-61 victory over Auburn on Wednesday night.

The former starters accounted for 26 of the team's season-high 30 bench points as Vanderbilt (8-9, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) won consecutive games for the first time in more than a month.

"It was (a problem) for Kyle I think initially, but since then he has been perfect and Kevin hasn't batted an eyelash since," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said of the demotions. "We need the guys who play to be productive. It is about mission, not position."

Auburn (8-10, 2-3) started hot, making its first five baskets. A baseline jumper by Jordan Price put the Tigers up 12-4 5:01 into the game.

Then the Commodores received a lift from the bench. After missing seven of its opening eight shots, Vanderbilt responded with a run of its own thanks to the play of three former starters. Bright popped off the bench with a straightaway 3-pointer, center Josh Henderson followed with a layup and Fuller scored five straight points. He bounced in a 3-pointer to cap off a 10-1 run and give the Commodores a brief 14-13 lead with 11:58 left in the half.

The game tilted back and forth until Vanderbilt ended the half with seven straight points. Stallings delivered high-fives to his team after Auburn called a timeout with 1:22 left in the half following an offensive rebound and layup by Shelby Moats, which gave Vanderbilt a 34-27 halftime lead.

After the break, the Commodores picked up where they left off as Jeter scored five straight points to stake them to a 39-29 lead. After Auburn sliced the deficit in half, Fuller answered with a 3-pointer to spark a 13-3 run. Fuller, Sheldon Jeter and Bright each drained 3-pointers during a 13-3 run. Rod Odom emphatically capped off the spurt with a two-handed dunk after Henderson found him streaking to the basket for a 52-37 lead with 12:28 left.

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