North Carolina (2-1) vs. Vanderbilt (2-1)
San Juan, P.R. -- Coliseo de Puerto Rico
5:30 p.m. -- ESPN2 (Jon Sciambi, Hubert Davis)
“I’m proud of my team – that’s the first thing I can say – because on a day when we didn’t shoot the ball very well and I thought Nebraska played very hard, they played with great physicality- they really stuck to their game plan. I thought we were able to sort of survive until we got back on our game and started playing the way we like to play. But a lot of us being taken out of that had to do with them. We’re fortunate to win.” – Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings after his team defeated Nebraska on Thursday
Season to Date: Vanderbilt enters Sunday’s contest with a 2-1 record. The Commodores defeated Presbyterian in their season opener (88-47) before splitting their first two games at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, knocking off Nebraska (59-49) in the first round before losing to West Virginia (74-71) on Friday. The Mountaineers’ Casey Mitchell hit a game-winning 3-pointer with the shot-clock expiring with three seconds left to play.
A Constant in the Backcourt: Junior guard Jeffrey Taylor lived up to his preseason All-SEC selection in the season opener against Presbyterian, scoring a career-high 27 points on 11-of-12 shooting. The 6-foot-7, 225-pounder earned second-team All-SEC and All-Defensive team honors in ’09-’10 after averaging 13.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Taylor is currently averaging 15.3 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists this season, but those statistics are skewed due to the fact that the Norrkoping, Sweden native fouled out in just 14 minutes against West Virginia.
Sophomore Sensation: John Jenkins’ freshman season at Vanderbilt couldn’t played out much better if he had planned it. The Hendersonville, Tenn. native was named to the 2010 SEC All-Freshman team and was also tabbed as the league’s Sixth Man of the Year after averaging 11.0 points per game and shooting 48.3% (72-149) from the 3-point line last season. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound guard was voted preseason second-team All-SEC but has played more like a first teamer thus far, averaging 19.7 points and 2.3 rebounds through three games. John Jenkins scored a career-high 27 points against West Virginia on Friday, shooting 6-of-19 from the floor, 5-of-11 from 3-point land, and 10-of-10 from the free throw line.
Old Friends Back Again: There are various connections that intertwine these two programs. Stallings was an assistant on Roy Williams’ staff for five seasons at Kansas (1989-93) and Vandy staff member King Rice ranks sixth all-time at UNC on the career assists list (629, ’88-’91). Another staff member, Brad Frederick, played for North Carolina under Dean Smith from 1997-99. Family plays a role as well as Jacob Stallings, Kevin’s son, is the starting catcher for the Tar Heel baseball team.
Remember Me? During North Carolina’s Final Four run in ’07-’08, there was plenty of concern throughout the fan base that sophomore guards Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington would make the jump to the NBA after the season. Roy Williams knew it was an option as well and began recruiting Oregon City, Ore. native Brad Tinsley just in case. The guard included UNC in his final seven schools, but with no offer in hand, he eventually removed the Tar Heels from his list and selected Vanderbilt. In the season-opening victory over Presbyterian, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound junior notched the first triple-double in school history with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists and earned SEC Player of the Week for his efforts.
Random Fact of the Day: Vanderbilt has made a 3-pointer in 765 consecutive games, a streak which began at the inception of the 3-point line in 1986-87. The Commodores rank second only to UNLV (773) for the longest streak in Division I basketball. Vanderbilt, UNLV and Princeton (650) are the only three schools in college basketball to have made at least one 3-pointer in every game played since the 3-point line was implemented.
Last Meeting: UNC defeated Vanderbilt, 71-63, at the Maui Invitational on November 20, 1995. The Tar Heels trailed by eight at halftime but roared back in the second half with a 55.2 percent shooting display. Jeff McInnis led North Carolina with 20 points while Shammond Williams added 14 points.
Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with Vandy, 6-3. The Commodores own a 3-0 in Nashville, while UNC boasts a 4-0 mark in Chapel Hill and stands 2-0 on neutral floors.
1 Brad Tinsley (6-3, 210, Jr.) – 9.3 ppg, 6.0 apg, 6.7 rpg
23 John Jenkins (6-4, 220, So.) – 19.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg
44 Jeffery Taylor (6-7, 225, Jr.) – 15.3 ppg, 3.0 apg
54 Andre Walker (6-7, 220, Jr.) – 2.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg
3 Festus Ezeli (6-11, 255, Jr.) – 8.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg
45 Rod Odom (6-9, 215, Fr.) – 5.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg
33 Steve Tchiengang (6-9, 245, Jr.) – 4.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg
5 Lance Gouldbourne (6-8, 230, Jr.) – 4.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg
11 Kyle Fuller (6-1, 200, Fr.) – 2.7 ppg, 2.0 apg
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