Hot start carries Vanderbilt past GWMar 16, 2007 - 6:59 AM SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) -- It only took Shan Foster and Vanderbilt a half to extend its stay in the NCAA Tournament.
Foster scored 11 of his 18 points in the first half as sixth-seeded Vanderbilt used a barrage of 3-pointers to post a 77-44 victory over No. 11 seed George Washington in the first round of the East Region.
Derrick Byars scored 12 points and Alex Gordon added 10 for the Commodores (21-11), who advanced to face third-seeded Washington State on Saturday.
"We're pleased with how we played and certainly look forward to advancing," said coach Kevin Stallings, who improved to 3-1 in two appearances in the NCAAs with Vanderbilt.
"We're just not content with being here," Byars said. "Our goal is to advance as far as we can with this. It was a great collective effort on everybody's part. Now we have our hands full with Washington State next."
Connecting on four of its first nine attempts from the arc, Vanderbilt raced out to a 13-2 lead. An unlikely sharpshooter, freshman guard George Drake hit consecutive 3-pointers to cap the early run.
A reserve, Drake entered the NCAA Tournament with just six baskets from the arc on 21 attempts - a 29 percent shooting percentage.
"I was surprised," Stallings said. "I'm not going to sit here and lie. My overall emotion was one of pleasure for George. He hasn't been shooting the three like some of the other guys have this season."
Although George Washington then scored seven of the next nine points, the Commodores responded with a 12-0 run, pulling ahead, 27-9, on a dunk by JeJuan Brown with 6:21 remaining.
The onslaught continued as Dan Cage hit consecutive 3-pointers to ignite a 13-0 burst, putting Vanderbilt ahead, 43-14, with 1:48 remaining before halftime.
The Commodores went on to hold a 45-20 lead at the half, as they showed very little discomfort in handling the Colonials' pressure defense.
"We had heard all week long how difficult it might be for us to deal with their pressure," Stallings said. "I thought we were able to do that pretty well. We had guys step up and make shots, particularly in the first half, and got ourselves a pretty comfortable lead."
"I think they were prepared," George Washington coach Karl Hobbs said. "As soon as the ball went up, they were ready to play. I thought they played the perfect kind of strategy against the way we try to play. Before we could even come to trap, the ball was out of their hands. They did a good job of spreading us out."
The tournament champion of the Atlantic 10 Conference, the Colonials finished with a season low in points in the first half, shooting just 5-of-20 (25 percent) from the field and missing all seven of their 3-pointers.
That was not the case for the Commodores, who made 53 percent (10-of-19) of their 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes and finished 12-of-32 from the arc.
Second-leading scorer Foster played a huge role in that, finishing 4-of-10 from the arc. Byars, Gordon and Cage added two 3-pointers apiece for Vanderbilt, which tied a school record for most 3-pointers made in an NCAA Tournament game, matching the 12 it had in a 67-59 loss to Temple in the regional finals in 1993.
Travis King finished with nine points for George Washington, which ended up with its lowest point total of the season, shooting 27 percent (13-of-48) and 3-of-14 from the arc.
Carl Elliott had eight points and Regis Koundjia added seven for the Colonials, who committed 20 turnovers, leading to 19 points for the Commodores.
- EAST REGIONAL
AT SACRAMENTO CA
NCAA BB EAST REGIONAL
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
GEO WASHINGTON 20 24 44
VANDERBILT 45 32 77 FINAL
Mar 15 6:45 PM
- EAST REGIONAL
AT SACRAMENTO CA
NCAA BB (11) GEO WASHINGTON 20
(6) VANDERBILT 45 HALFTIME
Mar 15 5:39 PM
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