WKU
Drake
101 - 99 Final - OT
  for this game

Rogers' buzzer-beater lifts Western Kentucky over Drake

Mar 21, 2008 - 10:16 PM
TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- Ty Rogers was at a loss for words after making the biggest shot of his basketball career.

Rogers drained a buzzer-beating 3-pointer Friday as 12th-seeded Western Kentucky pulled off a 101-99 overtime upset of No. 5 Drake in the first round of the NCAA Tournament West Regional.

A senior who served in a secondary role throughout the season, Rogers found himself in the spotlight after helping the Hilltoppers (28-6) complete the biggest stunner of the tournament this far.

But when asked to describe his game-winner, Rogers responded with understated awe.

"It kind of worked out good for me," said Rogers, who finished with 11 points. "It's undescribable. It feels wonderful, as you can imagine."

Western Kentucky coach Darrin Horn summed up the overtime thriller in much grander terms.

"I think what you saw was what makes this event special," said Horn, who guided the Hilltoppers to their first NCAA Tournament win since 1995. "(It was) a bunch of young people out there just completely pouring their hearts out and fighting to the very end."

It certainly was a hard-fought loss for the Bulldogs (28-5), who erased a 16-point second-half deficit in their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1971.

Jonathan Cox made a pair of free throws with 5.7 seconds remaining to give Drake a 99-98 advantage.

But Tyrone Brazelton took the ensuing in-bounds pass and raced into the frontcourt as the waning seconds ticked down before handing off to Rogers, who unleashed the game-winning shot from well beyond the arc.

"(Horn) figured that we should get the ball to the rim," Brazelton said. "During the timeout, Ty Rogers came up and told me, 'Don't be afraid to kick it to me.' I saw the defense collapse and I just kicked it to him."

"People don't understand," Rogers added. "In five seconds, players panic and don't think to make the extra pass. That says a lot for (Brazelton)."

Brazelton scored a career-high 33 points while Courtney Lee added 15 and nine rebounds for the Hilltoppers, who will face 13th-seeded San Diego in the second round Sunday.

Hours after Western Kentucky ousted Drake, the Toreros pulled off a shocker of their own with a 70-69 overtime upset of fourth-seeded Connecticut.

Cox scored 29 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, Klayton Korver added 21 points and Adam Emmenecker dished out a career-high 14 assists for the Bulldogs, who made 16 shots from the arc and forced 22 turnovers.

But despite a spirited comeback, Drake is headed home after only one day at the "Big Dance."

"We just fell one possession short," Drake coach Keno Davis said. "But as a coach, you've got to be pretty proud of your team's effort."

Western Kentucky trailed, 96-93, with under a minute remaining in the extra session before Brazelton drilled a game-tying 3-pointer with 53 seconds left.

Leonard Houston made 1-of-2 free throws 23 seconds later to give Drake a one-point advantage, but Western Kentucky regained the lead at 98-97 when Boris Siakam sank a pair of free throws with 21 seconds remaining.

The Bulldogs trailed, 66-50, with 12 minutes remaining in regulation and still faced a 15-point deficit four minutes later.

But Josh Young scored five straight points to draw Drake within 86-85 with just under a minute to play in regulation.

Brazelton's jumper on the following possession provided Western Kentucky with some breathing room, but Drake forged an 88-88 tie 15 seconds later when Cox drilled a 3-pointer.

After drawing an offensive foul, the Bulldogs had an opportunity to win the game in regulation. But Emmenecker's runner came up short, forcing the extra period.