Clutch shot knocks Vanderbilt out of NCAAs

Friday, March 23, 2007 at 1:00am

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jeff Green banked in a short jump shot with 2.5 seconds remaining to lift No. 2 seed Georgetown to a 66-65 victory over No. 6 seed Vanderbilt on Friday in the East Regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament at Continental Airlines Arena.

The Commodores, making their second Sweet Sixteen appearance in four years, finished the season 22-12. The Hoyas improved to 29-6 and will play for a regional championship Sunday for the first time in 11 years.

Dan Cage put Vanderbilt in front, 65-64, with two free throws with 17.9 seconds remaining.

Georgetown then called a play for Green, recently named Big East Conference Player of the Year, to either make a back-door pass or drive to the basket.

"I thought we defended the play pretty well, and he made a tough shot," VU coach Kevin Stallings said of Green.

Vanderbilt twice led by 12 points in the first half before Georgetown rallied in the second half. VU shot only 36 percent from the field in the second half after shooting 46.2 percent and making six 3-pointers in the first half.

"They played extremely well in the first half, and we did not play well," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "In the second half, our guys made it much tougher for them to score. We knew we could get back in it and methodically take control of the game."

Cage and Byars each scored 17 points to lead the Commodores, while Shan Foster added 16. Green and DaJuan Summers led the Hoyas with 15 points each.

Vanderbilt has won several games in the closing minutes this season.

"We're a little surprised because we've grown accustomed to winning these games," Stallings said. "We thought we would win this one. We spoiled ourselves.

"It's always disappointing when you lose one like that, because you can go over so many things in your head of things that might have gone differently. The bottom line was they made one more play than we did. We needed one more stop and rebound, and we couldn't get it.

"They get to keep playing, and we don't."

Read Monday's edition of The City Paper for more on Friday's game and a look ahead to Vanderbilt's 2007-08 season.

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