Foster's 32 points lead Vanderbilt past MassachusettsJan 6, 2008 - 2:15 AM NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- It wasn't easy but Shan Foster and Vanderbilt remained unbeaten.
Foster scored a season-high 32 points, including eight 3-pointers, as the 15th-ranked Commodores posted a 97-88 victory over Massachusetts on Saturday.
Freshman Andrew Ogilvy scored 25 points and Jermaine Beal added 19 for Vanderbilt (15-0), which is one of six unbeaten teams left in Division I.
"If you like basketball, you had to enjoy that game," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. "It was a well-played game between two very good teams. We obviously are extremely happy to have come out on the long end of it tonight."
The Commodores, who reached the 90-plus point mark for the eighth time this season, had to rally from a big first-half deficit and deal with end-to-end play in the second to hold on for the win.
"Our guys kept grinding it out and fighting," Stallings said. "Finally, and I don't know if it was fatigue or just Shan Foster making one incredible shot after another, but we were able to slow them down. I'm really proud of our team to get through the non-conference schedule undefeated."
After the Minutemen went ahead 29-16 on a layup by Chris Lowe with 8:16 remaining, the Commodores went on a 14-0 spurt capped by a shot from the arc by Foster to give them a one-point lead with 4:41 left.
"They made a lot of 3-pointers," said Massachusetts coach Travis Ford of Vanderbilt's first-half rally. "We went on a scoring drought for a while and Vanderbilt continued to make threes. It was just a combination of giving up 3-pointers and not scoring."
Foster, who connected on 11-of-18 shots, including 8-of-12 from 3-point range, drilled a jumper with 65 seconds left in the half to close Vanderbilt within 37-36 at the break.
"Shan's playing unbelievable right now," Stallings said. "It's remarkable how he plays."
The senior finished one point shy of his career high of 33, which he accomplished last February 28 against South Carolina.
"This was a big game," Foster said. "So far this is (our biggest win). UMass had beaten some quality opponents on the road, and they're a good team."
The Commodores open Southeastern Conference play against the Gamecocks on Wednesday.
After Gary Forbes made two foul shots to give Massachusetts a 65-61 advantage with 9:55 left in the second half, Vanderbilt went on a 10-2 run, finishing the burst on two free throws by Alan Metcalfe for a 71-67 edge with 8:30 remaining.
"We weren't too worried," Ogilvy said. "We knew our defensive effort would allow us to get back into the game. We just had to buckle down and get some stops."
Foster had five points in the run, including a 3-pointer, and Keegan Bell's pullup shot from the arc with 9:23 to go gave Vanderbilt a 67-65 lead it would not relinquish the rest of the way.
"I thought Keegan Bell's play in the second half was a big key to our momentum," Stallings said.
Lowe, who scored 22 points, hit a pair of free throws to cut the Minutemen's deficit to 75-72 with 7:12 left, but UMass wouldn't score for nearly 3 1/2 minutes until Lowe drilled a shot from the arc to make it 84-75 with 3:48 left.
"I think both teams were fatigued throughout the game," Ford said. "It was a fast-paced game and both teams wanted to run."
After Foster drilled his eighth 3-pointer with three minutes left, Ogilvy made a layup 29 seconds later to give the Commodores their first double-digit lead at 89-78.
"Give Vanderbilt credit for today's win," Ford said. "I kept telling my friends that live here that they're one of the best teams I've seen."
Ricky Harris scored 25 points and Forbes also scored 22 for UMass (11-3), which shot shot 42 percent (33-of-79) in seeing its six-game winning streak end.
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
MASSACHUSETTS 37 51 88
VANDERBILT (15) 36 61 97 FINAL
Jan 5 6:07 PM
- NCAA BB
(15) VANDERBILT 36 HALFTIME
Jan 5 4:55 PM
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