Commodores rally past UMass, 97-88

Saturday, January 5, 2008 at 5:53pm

Shan Foster scored 32 points and A.J. Ogilvy added 25 to lead No. 15 Vanderbilt to a 97-88 victory over Massachusetts on Saturday before 13,750 fans at Memorial Gym.

The Commodores overcame large deficits in both halves to extend their school-record season start to 15-0.

Down by 12 points, UMass made a final charge, chopping the deficit to 84-78 with 3:10 left on a layup and free throw by Ricky Harris.

Foster, the leading scorer in the Southeastern Conference, delivered the dagger with a 3-pointer from the left corner with 2:29 remaining, keeping the Commodores ahead 87-78.

“Foster is the best player I’ve seen this year,” UMass coach Travis Ford said. “He had 32 points, and we had a hand in his face on every shot.”

The Minutemen led 50-41 with 16:52 remaining before Vanderbilt rallied. Foster’s three-pointer made it 66-64, and Keegan Bell followed with another 3 to give the Commodores a 67-65 lead with 9:23 to go. They would not trail again.

Vanderbilt began to pull away when Jermaine Beal and Foster made back-to-back 3-pointers, followed by a jumper by Beal and free throw by Ogilvy, to push the lead to 84-72.

Three-point shooting was decisive. Vanderbilt made 13 of 23 while the Minutemen made eight of 24.

Harris scored 25 points and Chris Lowe and Gary Forbes each added 22 to lead Massachusetts (11-3).

"This was a big game," Foster said. "There was a lot of talk about them coming in and beating us."

Vanderbilt opens Southeastern Conference play Wednesday night at home against South Carolina before traveling to Kentucky next Saturday.

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