ATLANTA — The matchup was in Vanderbilt's favor, so the Commodores took full advantage.
Facing an Auburn team with little depth due to injuries, Vanderbilt jumped out to a 17-6 lead then wore the Tigers down on their way to a 93-82 victory Thursday in the first round of the SEC tournament.
Vanderbilt will play Arkansas today in today's quarterfinals, a rematch of a regular-season game the Commodores lost 78-73 two weeks ago. Senior guard Shan Foster scored 26 and freshman teammate A.J. Ogilvy scored 27.
"Unfortunately we haven't had a lot of success against them, but we look forward to a great game (today)," Foster said. "We know they are going to be amped up to play and we will too."
Ogilvy, a 6-foot-11 center who towered over the Tigers, teamed with Foster to provide an unstoppable inside-outside punch. The big man made 12 of 13 shots, most of them gimmes after he got loose underneath. He did hit one long jumper with his foot on the 3-point line.
Foster, the SEC's top scorer and named player of the year by the league's coaches earlier in the week, handled most of the outside shooting. The 6-6 senior connected on 6 of 9 from beyond the arc to add another notch to his brilliant season, giving him at least 20 points in six straight games and 19 overall.
Vanderbilt built a double-digit lead 5½ minutes in, and was comfortably out front most of the first half. Foster had 19 points and Ogilvy 14 by halftime.
"It was hard for our kids against Ogilvy," Auburn coach Jeff Lebo said. "He is savvy and he has size. It reminds me of playing in the backyard against my 6-year-old son. I can beat him anytime I want to."
S.c. 77, LSU 73: South Carolina lives to see another day.
That was the sentiment expressed by retiring South Carolina coach Dave Odom after his Gamecocks (14-17) held on for a victory over LSU (13-19).
Trailing 57-56 with 7:15 remaining, South Carolina went on a 15-2 run to take a 71-59 lead with 3:03 remaining. LSU made a last-minute run, but fell short.
"In typical fashion, we made it interesting at the end," Odom said. "We rarely ever win with ease going away looking over our shoulder into the sunset. That rarely ever happens."
And their reward for surviving and advancing?
South Carolina will play No. 1 seed Tennessee today.
The Gamecocks extended their postseason by making 9 of 27 3-pointers, four by Evaldas Baniulis. South Carolina hit six 3-pointers after trailing 43-41 early in the second half.
Baniulis, a sophomore from Lithuania who reached double figures in only three regular-season games, had 16 points.
Mike Holmes also had 16 and Dominique Archie added 15. Devan Downey had 12 points and matched his career high with 11 assists.
Trailing 54-52, South Carolina took control with a 19-5 run for a 71-59 lead with 3:05 left. Baniulis had two 3-pointers during the run.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.