for this game

Foster's late 3-pointer keeps Vanderbilt perfect at home

Mar 6, 2008 - 6:04 AM NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- In the final home game of his career, senior Shan Foster just refused to let Vanderbilt lose.

Foster scored 33 of his career-high 42 points after halftime, including the game-winning 3-pointer with two seconds remaining, to carry the 16th-ranked Commodores to an 86-85 victory over No. 25 Mississippi State in a Southeastern Conference thriller on Wednesday.

The 6-6 swingman, who became the school's all-time leading scorer during Saturday's loss to Arkansas, shot 16-of-25 from the field, making his last nine 3-pointers after missing his first six over the opening 26 minutes of the game.

"I really did not want to lose my last game in Memorial Gym and I was willing to do whatever it took to make sure that that didn't happen," Foster said. "My teammates did a great job of finding me when I was open and God took care of the rest. I think this is the first game that I hit nine threes and to hit nine in a row - that blows my mind."

The outburst helped Vanderbilt (25-5, 10-5 SEC East) improve its home record to 19-0, and match the school record for most regular-season wins. It was the first time the Commodores went undefeated at home since the 1992-93 campaign.

The Commodores were trailing by five points with under 30 seconds to play in regulation when Foster kept his team alive.

"Shan was just incredible tonight," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. "I can't really put it into words. I couldn't be happier for him as an individual and I couldn't be happier for a group of guys."

The senior made a 3-pointer and, after Jamont Gordon made just 1-of-2 free throws to push the Bulldogs lead to three, Foster hit another shot from the arc to tie the game at 74-74 with 14 seconds to play. Gordon's shot before the buzzer was off the mark and the game went to overtime.

"It was drawn up for me to get the shot," Gordon said. "I got a good look at the basket, the look I wanted. It just didn't go down. I thought I made it. I sure wish I did."

In the extra frame, Vanderbilt was down again as Ben Hansbrough's 3-pointer gave Mississippi State an early three-point bulge.

The Bulldogs were still in front by one when Hansbrough's second long-distance shot gave his team an 84-80 lead with 35 seconds remaining, but Foster answered with a 3-pointer of his own to cut the deficit to 84-83.

After Hansbrough made 1-of-2 foul shots to give Mississippi State a two-point edge with 28 seconds to play, Vanderbilt used up nearly the entire clock before Foster drilled his ninth and final 3-pointer from the right wing with two seconds remaining to give his team the win.

"There isn't a whole lot to say except this - Foster beat us," Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. "You can't say anything else about it. He just jumped up and made shots. Give him credit. There is absolutely nothing I would have done differently."

After the game was tied at the half, Mississippi State started the second half strong and held a 46-38 bulge after a dunk by Jarvis Varnado with 12:33 left to play.

The Commodores came charging back with an 11-0 burst - capped by back-to-back 3-pointers from Foster - to take a three-point lead before the Bulldogs answered with a 9-0 run to go back in front, 55-49, with 8:43 remaining.

"We were up against it whatever you want to say all night," Stallings said. "We could never get control of it (the game). I'm really happy for my team and I'm really proud of their effort and their willingness to stay with it."

Late in the half, Charles Rhodes' dunk put the Bulldogs ahead, 68-65, but Jermaine Beal tied the game for Vanderbilt on a 3-pointer with 1:06 remaining.

But Gordon answered with a three-point play and then made a pair of free throws - after a missed shot from the arc by Beal - to push the Mississippi State advantage to 73-68 with 33 seconds to play in regulation.

Gordon finished with 24 points and eight rebounds, while Rhodes added 22 and 14 for the Bulldogs (20-8, 11-4 West), who made just 4-of-19 shots from the arc. Mississippi State also made just 15-of-28 free-throw attempts for the game.

"I can promise you that we can walk out of that locker room with our heads held up," Stansbury said. "I couldn't have been more proud than the way our guys performed against a heck of a Vanderbilt basketball team. Our team was awfully good. We just didn't win the basketball game."