Final - OT
  for this game

Vanderbilt outlasts South Carolina in overtime

Mar 1, 2007 - 6:08 AM COLUMBIA, South Carolina (Ticker) -- Derrick Byars got a second chance to put his struggles on the road behind him.

Byars scored eight points in overtime, including a pair of crucial 3-pointers, to lift No. 23 Vanderbilt to a 99-90 Southeastern Conference victory over South Carolina.

Shan Foster finished with a season-high 33 points as the Commodores (20-9, 10-5 SEC East) regrouped after blowing a 17-point second-half lead and ended a three-game road losing streak.

"Obviously it was a hard-fought game," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. "It was a game we had control of, and they came back and got some measure of control late."

Byars, who scored 26 points in Sunday's victory over Kentucky and 32 in a 78-68 victory over the Gamecocks on February 14, has been one of the reasons for Vandy's struggles away from home, totaling 15 points in the past two road losses.

Tre Kelley put on a spectacular performance to rally South Carolina (14-14, 4-10 East), scoring 20 of his 32 points in the second half. He hit two free throws with 44 seconds left to give the Gamecocks an 81-79 lead, but Foster sent the game into overtime by burying a jumper with 19 seconds left.

"I knew we had that basketball game, I knew we won it," Kelley said. "We were up late in the game and then we took it into overtime. Those guys from Vanderbilt stepped up in overtime, so I have to give those guys a lot of credit for playing like they did."

Byars connected from the arc to open the extra session and, after Kelley hit one free throw, he nailed another 3-pointer. Foster followed with a jumper to extend the lead to 89-82 with 3:00 left and South Carolina never got closer than four points the rest of the way.

The teams put on a brilliant display of 3-point shooting, with the Commodores connecting on 16-of-32 and the Gamecocks 13-of-26.

"They shot the ball very well. We didn't guard them very well," Stallings said. "We shot the ball very well, and I would imagine (Wake Forest coach Dave Odom) would say they didn't guard us very well either. It was a shootout right from the start, which is fine with us."

Foster and Dan Cage had four 3-pointers apiece as Vanderbilt was a sizzling 11-of-17 from the arc in building a 47-35 halftime cushion. Ross Neltner added 14 points and Cage 12 for the Commodores.

"They came out of the gate quick, shot the ball very well," Odom said of the Commodores. "They made 11 threes in the first half, we made seven. By my count that's 12 points difference and they were up 12 at half, so that's the deal right there.

"We were too concerned about thinking the game defensively, instead of playing the game. We challenged our team at halftime to quit thinking so much and start playing."

Kelley certainly did his part. The Gamecocks fell behind, 52-35, early in the second half and still trailed by 12 points before Kelley sparked an 8-0 spurt.

In a 13-minute span, South Carolina used a 30-14 run to take a 77-73 lead on Kelley's jumper with 2:00 to play. During the surge, Kelley outscored Vanderbilt, 16-14, by himself.

"It took a lot out of us because we were down by 17 and had to play hard to come back from that," Kelley said.

Dominique Archie added 21 points for South Carolina, which fell to 0-4 at home against ranked opponents this season despite shooting 53 percent (29-of-55).