NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Freshman A.J. Ogilvy scored 25 points and No. 13 Vanderbilt showed no signs of slowing down just because it's time for Southeastern Conference play, beating South Carolina 80-73 on Wednesday night.
Shan Foster and Alex Gordon both added 13 points for the Commodores (16-0, 1-0), who stretched their best start ever by beating the Gamecocks (8-7, 0-1) for the fourth straight time. Jermaine Beal added 11.
South Carolina made the Commodores work for this victory, swapping the lead eight times with four ties in the second half alone. The Gamecocks harassed Vanderbilt into 17 turnovers, 10 of those on steals.
Foster, the SEC's leading scorer, followed up a season-high 32 points against Massachussets last weekend with his worst scoring performance. He was 4-of-11 from the field, including 2-of-9 from 3-point range.
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Ogilvy, second to Foster in the league in scoring, made up the difference.
Devan Downey led South Carolina with 22 points, while Zam Fredrick added 21 and Dwayne Day had 14.
Guard Brandis Raley-Ross of the Gamecocks played in his first game since spraining his left knee in practice Dec. 29 when he landed awkwardly from a dunk. The nation's most accurate 3-point shooter at 65.2 percent didn't take a shot until 13:46 left in the game, and he missed.
That was the only shot he would take.
Vanderbilt outrebounded (41-33) and outshot the Gamecocks, especially at the free throw line where the Commodores went 15-of-17. South Carolina hit all four it attempted.
The Commodores led 35-30 at halftime and opened the second half with Foster and Ogilvy hitting two free throws each for their biggest lead.
The Gamecocks answered with 10 straight points capped by Day's 3-pointer to take the lead at 40-39 with 16:46 to go. The Commodores built the lead to 67-58 on a 3-pointer by Alan Metcalfe with 5:57 remaining.
Downey capped an 11-4 spurt with a bucket at 1:45 to pull South Carolina within 71-69. Gordon answered with a 3 for Vandy, then Ross Neltner blocked a jumper by Downey with about a minute left. Vandy hit its final six free throws to hold onto the victory.
Foster became Vandy's all-time leading 3-point shooter less than 3 minutes into the game, hitting his 297th from the right corner for an 8-5 lead with 17:28 to go. Second to Raley-Ross in 3-point shooting, Foster cooled off after that.
Downey, who had 18 points in leading Cincinnati over Vanderbilt here on Dec. 10, 2005, hit four of his first six shots and had 14 in the first half. Fredrick, the transfer from Georgia Tech, added 11.
But they got little help with Day the only other teammate to score in the first half. Day's 3-pointer put South Carolina ahead 22-21, then Beal answered with a 3 to start a 9-0 spurt. But he had to hit a 3 just before time expired for a 35-30 lead.