Foster, Vanderbilt crush George Washington
Sacramento, CA (Sports Network) – Shan Foster scored 18 points — including
four shots from three-point range — and Vanderbilt crushed George Washington,
77-44, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Derrick Byars scored 12 points, cleared seven boards and had five assists
for the sixth-seeded Commodores (21-11), who will meet Washington State
in a second-round matchup on Saturday. Alex Gordon also chipped in with 10
points and five rebounds for Vanderbilt, which made 12-of-31 three-
pointers in the contest.
Travis King scored nine points and had five rebounds for George Washington
(23-9), which did not have a player reach double figures. The Colonials, who
had an eight-game winning streak abruptly halted, were coming off their second
Atlantic 10 Tournament championship in the last three years.
“They (Vanderbilt) got off to such a great start,” said George Washington head
coach Karl Hobbs. “As soon as the ball went up they were ready to play and I’m
not so sure we were ready to play at the very start of the game. I thought
they played the perfect kind of strategy against the way we like to play.
Before we could trap, the ball was out of their hands and they did a good job
of spreading us out.”
George Washington struggled from the opening tipoff and did not make its first
shot from the field until Damian Hollis’ jumper at 13:40. By that point,
Vanderbilt had built a 13-4 lead on the strength of four shots from beyond the
King’s short jumper pulled the Colonials within 15-7 at 12:59, but the
Commodores answered with a 12-0 run — capped by Gordon’s trey at 8:17 — and
held a commanding 27-7 advantage.
The Colonials made it 30-14 on a pair of Carl Elliot free throws at 4:41, but
Vanderbilt cruised to the break holding a 45-20 lead.
George Washington was just 5-for-20 from the field in the first half, with the
performance marking the squad’s lowest point total at intermission this
season. On the other side, Vanderbilt shot 52 percent from the floor and was
10-of-18 from three-point range.
Vanderbilt continued to pour it on in the second half, as the lead ballooned
to 58-24 on a dunk by Ted Skuchas at 13:57. The Colonials answered with five
straight points, but the Commodores continued to pull away down the stretch.
Noel Wilmore’s trey gave Vanderbilt a 69-38 margin with just 4:54 remaining in
the contest, and the Colonials made just one more shot from the floor the rest
of the way.
“We realized if we took care of the ball, that we would get any shot we
wanted,” said Foster afterward. “That was the key for us offensively – to go
out and execute our offensive game plan. We have a lot of unselfish guys that
make plays and have a lot of great shooters.”
Vanderbilt is making its first appearance in the NCAA tourney since
2004…George Washington lost its only previous meeting with Vanderbilt,
76-74, on December 1, 1990…The game marked GW’s third straight and 10th
overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The team holds an all-time record
of 4-10 in the tourney, including a 4-7 mark in first-round games.