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January 26, 2009

Break For USC? Ogilvy Fighting Illness

South Carolina may be getting a slight break for its next game.

Vanderbilt leading scorer/rebounder A.J. Ogilvy is suffering from an upper respiratory virus and his status for Wednesday's game at USC is clouded. Vandy coach Kevin Stallings confirmed during Monday's SEC coaches teleconference that Ogilvy had been to the campus hospital before the Commodores' Sunday game against Florida.

Against the Gators, Ogilvy only scored four points and played just one minute in the second half. Deprived of his 15.1 points per game, Vandy was blitzed 94-69 for its third straight loss and fourth in five SEC games.

"Hopefully he gets through that quickly," Stallings said. "We need him to play like a first-team all-conference player. That's one of the things that certainly need to happen in order for us to be a good team."

Ogilvy led all SEC freshmen in scoring last year with 17 points per game and finished eighth in the conference in the same category. A 6-foot-11, 250-pound Australian, Ogilvy was ninth in the league with 6.7 rebounds per game and seventh in blocked shots (1.44).

He ended the season as a unanimous selection to the conference's all-freshman team, also recognized on the coaches' All-SEC second team and on the honorable mention All-SEC list by The Associated Press. In two wins over the Gamecocks last year, Ogilvy scored 25 and 15 points.

If the big man were to miss or be limited during Wednesday's game, it'd be a huge gift for the Gamecocks, who are fighting to keep a three-game home SEC winning streak intact. USC (14-4, 3-2 SEC) is 3-0 at Colonial Life Arena in league play and is 12-1 at home overall.

"I guess that helps us a lot," forward Austin Steed said on Monday. "Even though he's out, we're still going to follow our gameplan."

USC coach Darrin Horn said he admired Ogilvy's talent, but was wary about the rest of Vandy's team as well. The Commodores, he said, are the most athletic team USC has seen yet.

"I think he's a terrific individual player in his ability to do things and score the basketball," Horn said. "He's a concern, without question, but I really like their team."

Ogilvy leads the Commodores in scoring and rebounding (6.5) but is backed up by Jeffery Taylor (12.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Jermaine Beal (11.9 ppg). Horn pointed out that Vandy is a much better team than its 1-4 SEC record, something with which Stallings concurred.

"We certainly feel like we let ourselves down, let our fans down," Stallings said after the Florida loss in Nashville. "Maybe the environment somewhere else is better for us right now."

Ogilvy's status will be determined closer to game time.



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