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60 Moments at Memorial Gym: 1-12

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Feb. 27, 2012

Posted Image

This is the 60th season of basketball in Memorial Gymnasium. To commemorate the occasion, VUCommodores.com will commit the next five days to recall 60 of the most memorable moments from men's and women's basketball games played on Vanderbilt's home court. Each day, VUCommodores.com will reveal 12 historical moments, totaling 60 by Friday. The moments will not be listed by rank.

Submit Your Memorable Moments<br/>

1)Dec. 6, 1952MBB: First Game Played at Memorial GymPosted Image

At 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 6, 1952, Vanderbilt would play its first game inside Memorial Gymnasium against Virginia. The Commodores would defeat Virginia 90-83 in front of what was the largest crowd (5,500) ever to see a basketball game in Nashville. It would be the first of nine straight home wins for the Commodores.

Vanderbilt's Dan Finch scored the first four points in the history of the gym and George Nordhaus led the team with 18 points.

The gym was designed by Edwin Keeble ('24) and cost $1.5 million to construct. The gym was erected to serve as a memorial for the 4,000 Vanderbilt men and women who served in World War II and to the 144 who lost their lives in service.

The original capacity was 6,583 and was designed by Keeble "so that the back most seat was 116 linear feet from the playing floor, well within the accepted limit at which the average person can detect facial expression, 130 feet." There was also a 6-lane pool in southwest corner of gym and seating for 600 spectators to watch a meet.

SUBMIT YOUR MOMENTS<br/>Click Here to Submit Memorable Moments

It took six years from the initial planning period for the gym to open with construction commencing in 1950.Before the game, Charles S. Ragland, general chairman of the gymnasium fund committee, presented the building to the university. Accepting the building for Vanderbilt was Chancellor Harvie Branscomb. Jams G. Stahlman, publisher of the Nashville Banner and chairman of the board's gymnasium committee, made the dedication address.

"To the 144 who did not come back, the gymnasium will recall forever that your service was not forgotten," Branscomb said during the acceptance.

During the game, Vanderbilt Head Coach Bob Polk made it a point to get every Vanderbilt player into the game.

"Each will be able to tell his grandchildren that he played in the first game ever held in the Memorial Gym," Polk said.

Before the season began, a total of 1,381 tickets were sold at a draw for season ticket holders. The first name drawn was Clatie Harvey of Murfreesboro.

2)Jan. 13, 1962MBB: VU Hands No. 7 Miss. State its Only DefeatPosted Image

Mississippi State entered Memorial Gym undefeated as the No. 7 team in the country and the three-time defending SEC Champions on Jan. 13, 1962. The Bulldogs would leave Memorial Gym with their only loss of the season that day, falling 100-86 to Vanderbilt.

With 7,000 fans in attendance, the Commodores (7-6, 1-2 SEC) put together a dominating performance in which they were up by 14 at the half and led by as many as 17 points in the second half. With the loss Mississippi State fell to 10-1 overall.

"We were one of two unbeaten teams in the country before tonight," Mississippi State Head Coach Babe McCarthy said. "Now there's only Ohio State. I don't mean to take anything away from Vanderbilt. They played a real fine game. They wouldn't even let us shoot. But as I started to say, there are certain games you play when you are flat. We were tonight. We took ourselves out of the game in the first 10 minutes. We played Vanderbilt's game all the way. We missed when we needed the key shot. We'd like to beat Vanderbilt sometime up here. It'll be two years for sure."

John Russell scored 23 points and Jerry Hall had 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Commodores. Vanderbilt shot 45.3% from the floor and held Mississippi State without a field goal until six minutes, four seconds had elapsed in the first half.

Despite the sizable lead, Vanderbilt Head Coach Roy Skinner was not happy with the selfish play of the team's starters in the first half and substituted the entire team of reserves into the game after halftime.

"I was well pleased with our shooting," Skinner said. "We worked our offense as a team. They ran patterns real well. All of the reserves did a good job too. They learned a lesson against Kentucky. I think we got a lot of confidence out of this victory. It should help us the rest of the way.

"Everybody played well. Our reserves made a lot of us look bad tonight."

3)March 5, 1966MBB: Clyde Lee Day<br/>Posted Image No player in Vanderbilt's storied history has been more beloved than former center Clyde Lee. The local boy from David Lipscomb High School graduated from Vanderbilt as the school's all-time leading scorer and rebounder and remains tops all-time on the rebounding list.Lee's play lifted the Commodores on the court and their popularity off it. Record crowds poured into Memorial Gym during his career, leading to the addition of the "Balconies Clyde Lee Built."

To commemorate Lee on his final home game, Vanderbilt's meeting against Mississippi State on March 5, 1966 was deemed "Clyde Lee Day."

Vanderbilt lost the game 92-90, but the game was secondary to the tribute to Lee that day. Before the game, trophies were presented and dignitaries summoned praise on Lee before 9,212 fans in attendance. That day, the Nashville Banner dedicated its entire front page to Lee and his Vanderbilt career.

"I wouldn't take anything for it," Lee said of his career. "It is something I will remember forever, but right now I'd have to say that I am happy it is over. Once you do something it keeps building up and you are expected to match it or improve it. The pressure has been terrific."

After the game Lee's jersey was retired and would be placed in the Memorial Gym trophy case.

Other seniors recognized that day were All-SEC guard Keith Thomas, forward Ron Green, reserve forward Wayne Calvert. The Commodores were ranked No. 5 nationally and finished 23-4 overall and 13-3 in the SEC, but were ineligible to compete in either of the two national tournaments because of NCAA and SEC regulations.

Mississippi State's Paul Smith made two free throws with six seconds left to win the game for Mississippi State, who was 14-11 overall and 10-6 in the SEC. The game was televised regionally.

4)Jan. 5, 1974MBB: Butch Feher's Layup Beats Alabama<br/>Posted Image A layup by sophomore Butch Feher carried Vanderbilt to a 73-72 win over No. 14 Alabama on Jan. 5, 1974.Feher's layup came after he had missed the second shot of a one-and-one to tie the game with 26 seconds left. Alabama snagged the missed foul shot, but Vanderbilt's Terry Compton knocked the ball away from the Tide's Charles Russell and Feher beat everyone to the loose ball.

Feher then dished the ball to Joe Ford who drove into the lane and found Feher again open under the basket. Feher would make the layup with five seconds remaining on the clock.

"I had to get it in the hole," Feher said. "After a bad pass in the clutch and that missed foul shot, I felt lucky to get another chance."

After Feher's layup, Alabama's Charles Cleveland attempted a final shot that hit off the back of the rim and was tipped out by Jan van Breda Kolff as Vanderbilt fans rushed the court.

"I didn't try to rebound," van Breda Kolff said. "I wasn't sure I could get to it. I just slapped it as hard as I could fearing that Douglas or Russell would bat it in the goal. Considering how important this game is in the conference race, this has to be the biggest win since I've been here."

The win came in the SEC opener for both teams and avenged Vanderbilt's home loss to Alabama the previous year. That lost may have cost Vanderbilt the SEC title since it ended the season one game back of Kentucky in the standings.

"I knew we had it.," Vanderbilt Head Coach Roy Skinner said. "When I looked at the ball rolling toward me and saw one second on the clock. We figured they would go to Cleveland and I personally was afraid he would make it. It even looked good in the air ... but the great slap of the rebound by Jan looked even better. Gosh what a game."

Vanderbilt trailed by 11 in the first half and were never ahead until Feher's game-winning layup.

"I felt like the loose balls were critical all night and they beat us to this one just like some others," Alabama Head Coach C.M. Newton said.

"It was a game of a lot of loose ball," Skinner added. "And, the scramble before we got the winning field goal was right in front of me. It's a wonder I didn't try to help."

The win proved to be very important in Vanderbilt winning its second SEC Championship.

Compton finished with 22 points and van Breda Kolff added 14 points and 11 rebounds.

The Crimson Tide were undefeated heading the Nashville and the game was of enough significance that Sports Illustrated sent a writer to Nashville to chronicle the game, which was deemed the biggest of the week.

After the game, van Breda Kolff was quoted by Sports Illustrated as saying, "We realize now that Skinner is a better coach than we thought he was. The first couple of years here, I wondered at times. We used to blame a loss on the coaching staff. Now if we lose, we're going to blame it on ourselves."

5)Nov. 7, 1977WBB: First Varsity Women's Basketball Game<br/>Posted ImageVanderbilt defeated Tennessee State 73-60 on Nov. 7, 1977 in the first intercollegiate varsity women's basketball game for both programs.

Freshman Karen McGinn led all scorers with 20 points for Vanderbilt. Ann Morrow added 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Jan Jordan finished with 17 points. The Commodores shot 44.9% from the floor. Pam Nicholson was Tennessee State's leading scorer with 16 points.

The crowd was announced at 200.

"We're all very proud to win that first one." Vanderbilt Head Coach Joe Pepper told Tom Robinson of the Nashville Banner. "We were worried about using the right passing lanes and adjusting to TSU's quickness. In the second half we ate the boards up."

"We were all so excited and nervous for the first few minutes we couldn't get it going. McGinn said.

6)March 11, 1982MBB: MTSU Tops Kentucky in NCAA Tournament<br/>In what was and still is regarded as the biggest basketball win in MTSU's history, the Blue Raiders upset Kentucky, 50-44, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on March 11, 1982."I'll be honest," MTSU Head Coach Stan Simpson quipped. "We had to win this one, because I didn't have a ticket for Saturday's game."

A near-capacity crowd of 14,761 was on hand in what many believed would be a tuneup for the Wildcats, who would play a much-anticipated game with Louisville in the second round. Tickets for the assumed matchup between Kentucky and Louisville were being scalped for $50 outside the gym, but after the MTSU upset, the tickets were bing given away in handfuls for a few dollars.

"I really don't think we were looking ahead," Kentucky Head Coach Joe B. Hall said. "I just think they were more mentally ready to play. Our confidence faded some as they did some things to preserve their lead and their victory."

MTSU's Rick Campbell scored 19 points and Jerry Beck had 14. No Kentucky player scored in double figures. MTSU won despite making just 10-of-18 free throws.

"We came in knowing we could do two or three things against Kentucky," Simpson said. "We knew we couldn't put pressure on Dirk Minnifield because he's too quick. We had to get close to Jim Master, which I think we did, and I was surprised we held Derrick Hord (6points) as well as we did.

"Publicly, I'm surprised we won, but personally, I thought we could. Our guys kept telling me they could beat Kentucky and I believed them."

Wrote Tennessean writer Jimmy Davy after the game: "On this memorable occasion the calf ate the butcher. And in all fairness, the score of the slaughter was not as bad as it could have been."

7)Dec. 5, 1987MBB: Vanderbilt Beats No. 1 North Carolina<br/>Posted Image Vanderbilt continued its success against No. 1 teams as the Commodores defeated top-ranked North Carolina, 78-76, on Dec. 5, 1987.With a rambunctious crowd of 15,626 in attendance, Vanderbilt was led by Will Perdue's 23 points. Charles Mayes had 16 points and Barry Goheen finished with 13 points. It was Mayes, a former attendee of North Carolina's summer camp, who hit three three-pointers in the final seven minutes to help secure the win.

"The magic of this gym is the crowd," Vanderbilt Head Coach C.M. Newton said. "This is what it's all about. When the students get cracking like that, they can lift your players and have an effect on the other team. It can be a very tough place for a visiting team to play."

Legendary North Carolina Head Coach Dean Smith knew this all too well. He finished his career 0-3 at Memorial Gym.

Vanderbilt moved to 3-0 with the win, while North Carolina fell to 3-1 on the season. In the Tar Heels' previous game they had defeated No. 1 Syracuse to assume the top spot in the rankings.

"I'm proud of our team for winning," Newton said. "But I'm even more proud of them for preparing to win. Coach (John) Bostic did an excellent job of scouting North Carolina and helping prepare our team for them."

Vanderbilt jumped out to a 13-4 lead, but UNC was up by six with 7:31 to play. Vanderbilt would go back in front and were ahead by three, 78-75, with three seconds left when the Commodores had their inbounds pass stolen.

North Carolina guard Jeff Lebo stole the pass and was fouled on a three-point attempt. However the rules then called for only two foul shots. He made one of the two shots with one second left to finish the game with 21 points.

"I don't agree with the rule," Newton said. "I think a foul on a three-point shot should be a three-shot foul, but the rule's the rule and that's the way we're going to play it."

Vanderbilt shot 47.5% from the floor and UNC shot 47.9%.

"To me (the win) ranks as the best ever," senior Will Perdue said.

In addition to his 23 points, Perdue also had 10 rebounds and blocked three shots.

"Perdue was just too much for us inside," North Carolina Head Coach Dean Smith said.

"It's a big, big win for our program, no question," Newton said. "This is what it is all about right here - pride." "I thought the level of play was outstanding. The intensity was terrific. We had to fight for our lives."

8)Jan. 13, 1990WBB: Scholtens' Basket Sinks No.3 Georgia<br/>Posted Image Vanderbilt All-American Wendy Scholtens made one of the biggest shots of her career to help the Commodores defeat No. 3 Georgia, 63-62, on Jan. 13, 1990.With 3,311 fans in attendance, Scholtens hit a 10-foot jumper in the lane with two seconds to play.

"It was a brick, a prayer,"Scholtens would say after the game.

But two seconds was almost too much time on the clock. Georgia's Sharon Baldwin through a full-court length pass that deflected off Vanderbilt's Shelley Jarrard and went directly into the hands of Georgia's Lady Hardmon. Hardmon caught the ball just behind the foul line, but her shot hit off the back of the rim.

"It was a good shot, we had a chance," Georgia Head Coach Andy Landers said.

Scholtens led No. 23 Vanderbilt with 22 points as the Commodores snapped Georgia's 13-game winning streak and improved to 13-4 overall and 2-0 in the SEC.

Georgia led 58-53 with 3:40 to play before Vanderbilt came roaring back and took a 61-60 lead with 1:22 to play on a jump shot by Kris Becker.

"We were just playing so aggressively, I was just in the right place at the right time," Becker said.

Georgia regained the lead with 16 seconds to play, which setup Scholtens for the game-winner.

"It was a wonderful win," Lee said. "It was great time for us to play Georgia. They'd been on the road. We played our best, especially on defense.

"This was the best defensive effort for 40 minutes that any team I've ever coached has given. When you've got an All-American when you've got a Wendy Scholtens, you go to her. We went to Wendy, we isolated her, and she responded."

VU won despite not having starting forward Renae Sallquist for much of the second half after she had twisted her ankle.

9)Jan. 26, 1991MBB: Steve Grant's Only Career Three Beats Georgia<br/>Posted Image If you could make just one three-pointer in your career, it may as well be a game-winner. That is exactly what former Commodore Steve Grant did.With Vanderbilt trailing No. 11 Georgia, 74-72, with five seconds to play, Grant sank a three-pointer just beyond the half court stripe to sink the Bulldogs, 75-74, on Jan. 26, 1991.

The desperation three-pointer came on the first attempt of his career and would wind up as the only three-pointer of his career.

"I got the ball and was looking for an open man and couldn't find anybody," Grant said. "I knew time was running down, so I just took the shot. I guess it was more reaction than anything."

The win boosted Vanderbilt's record to 4-3 overall and 1-0 in the SEC. Georgia fell to 5-1 overall and had entered the game having defeated its previous five opponents by a 43.8-point margin. It looked like Georgia may do the same to the Commodores by jumping out to a 10-2 lead.

Georgia led 66-61 with 1:09 to play, but Vanderbilt's Kevin Anglin hit a three and Bruce Elder sank two free throws to tie the score at 66 with 25 seconds to play. Georgia missed a 12-footer to send the game to overtime.

Scott Draud led VU with 18 points, Kevin Anglin added 16, Grant had 14 and Todd Milholland had 11. Georgia's Litterial Green scored 33 in a game that was televised on ESPN.

10)March 17, 1996WBB: 'Dores Advance to 7th Straight Sweet 16<br/>Posted Image Third-seeded Vanderbilt moved on to its seventh straight Sweet 16 appearance with a 96-82 win over sixth-seeded Wisconsin on March 17, 1996.The game was the last at Memorial for a senior class of Mara Cunningham (pictured), Sheri Sam and Ginger Jared, who helped lead VU to 106 wins and two SEC Tournament Championships.

Sam scored 28 points, grabbed eight rebounds, had five assists, four steals and a block in the win. The Commodores controlled the paint for the game, registering 10 blocked shots and shooting 63.3% for the game.

"She's really a great player," Wisconsin Head Coach Jan Albright-Dieterle said. "With most players, there is something about them that you can defend. But she stepped out and hit a three-pointer against us early, so we had to go out to guard her. And she was good on the inside, too. She's got it all."

"Sheri is quicker than people think," Vanderbilt Head Jim Foster said. "I think she might have been a little too big for Keisha (Anderson) I think when they put some bigger people on her she might have been a little too fast for them."

Vanderbilt improved to 22-7 with the win and would end its season in the Elite Eight. Wisconsin finished the year 21-8 after the loss.

"I think in the SEC there is a lot of bumping and grinding," Jim Foster said. "Outside of the SEC its' not as physical for us. I think that our stats will show that we shoot a higher percentage when we play non-SEC teams."

11)Feb. 12, 2008MBB: Vanderbilt Throttles Kentucky, 93-52<br/>Recap & Highlights | Box Score | Posted ImageRussell's Photos Posted ImageIn its most dominating performance against rival Kentucky, No. 24/19 Vanderbilt rolled to a 93-52 win on Feb. 12, 2008. The 41-point win was the largest in series history and the fifth-largest loss all-time by Kentucky and its worst in conference play.

"We just got our tail kicked," Kentucky Head Coach Billy Gillispie said. "That's all there is to it. It's one loss, and we got our tail kicked, severely. Congratulations to Vanderbilt. They played fantastic. We'll move on. We'll make a positive out of it someway."

The game was filled with many eye-popping numbers. The Commodores led 41-11 at the half. Vanderbilt's Shan Foster outscored Kentucky until the 13:08 mark of the second half and Ross Neltner had done the same up until the 15:35 mark of the second half. Neltner's point total led Vanderbilt's student section to chant, "Neltner's winning" over and over again.

"I didn't think we could be ahead of someone 41-11 if those guys were playing us coaches," Vanderbilt Head Coach Kevin Stallings said. "It was just our night. I don't know how to explain it. It just happens when you least expect it."

Foster scored 20 points and A.J. Ogilvy added 19 points and 12 rebounds as Vanderbilt improved to 21-4 overall and 6-4 in the SEC. The win avenged a 79-73 double overtime loss at Kentucky on Jan. 12.

"To have them to stomp us into the ground like that, it's horrible," Kentucky freshman forward Patrick Patterson said. "They played like men, and we played like boys."

The previous largest margin of victory was, 30 points, an 81-51 victory on Feb. 8, 1989. It was Vanderbilt's third straight win against Kentucky in Memorial Gym and its fifth in the last six overall meetings with the Wildcats.

Kentucky had won five straight, including a victory over Tennessee, before the blowout.

12)Feb. 13, 2011WBB: Chantelle Anderson's Jersey Retired<br/>Posted ImagePosted ImageRussell's Photos | Posted ImageJersey Retirement Ceremony | Posted ImageAnderson Interview | Game Recap

No. 4 Tennessee came from behind to beat Vanderbilt 65-57 on Feb. 13, 2011, but it was not the game that made it such a memorable day. Former Commodore great Chantelle Anderson became just the fourth Vanderbilt basketball player to have her jersey retired.

The halftime ceremony followed the recognition of more than 30 former Commodores who returned to Nashville for the inaugural women's basketball reunion.

"It was so surreal to see my jersey unveiled in Memorial Gym, somewhere I was so honored to play for four years," Anderson said. " I'm speechless ... it is one of those things you can't put into words. I'm just so thankful and honored."

On the court, Vanderbilt held Tennessee to only 15 points in the first half, but the Lady Vols came back in the second half with 50 points to defeat Vanderbilt.

Anderson's jersey retirement was the first for Vanderbilt since Perry Wallace had his jersey raised to the rafters in 2004.

Credits: Nashville Banner, Tennessean, Dynamite! 75 Years of Vanderbilt Basketball (Roy M. Neel), DVD: 50 Years of Memorial Magic <br clear="left"/>Posted Image<br/>Posted Image