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December 4, 2010

Ezeli's 24 lead Vandy past Belmont

NASHVILLE, Tenn.-Vanderbilt's Festus Ezeli had a career-best 24 points on Saturday, leading the Commodores to a come-from behind, 85-76 victory over Belmont at Memorial Gymnasium.

The visiting Bruins led Vandy by as many as seven in the first half, and were ahead 35-32 at the break, as the Commodores struggled to find open looks in their half-court offense.

But VU found answers in the second half, starting with its first possession. Ezeli hit a short jumper to start the period, and Lance Goulbourne connected on an open 3-pointer at the 18:50 mark to give the 'Dores their first lead since midway through the first half.

Vanderbilt never trailed after that, and led by as many as 13, although the Bruins got to within five with just under a minute left.

But VU broke Belmont's press on the ensuing possession, and Goulbourne broke open for a dunk and a three-point play, putting VU up eight.

The 'Dores were aided greatly by points at the foul line, hitting 35-of-45 charity tosses after going into the double-bonus with 13:22 left in the game.

Vanderbilt also had double-figure scoring from Brad Tinsley (14 points) Jeffery Taylor (16), Goulbourne (15, with 13 coming after the break), and John Jenkins (10).

Ezeli added 10 rebounds, four steals and three blocks for the Commodores, and took just nine shots.

Mick Hedgepeth (16 points) led Belmont in scoring.

Taylor drew the defensive assignment on BU's leading scorer, Ian Clark, and held him to just nine points on seven shots.

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