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Cougars in double trouble

Vanderbilt, led by Byars' 27 points, has a little more after two overtimes to beat Washington State, 78-74.

March 18, 2007|Chris Dufresne | Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — Washington State and Vanderbilt had never met on the basketball court until Saturday's East Regional second-round game at Arco Arena.

The schools need to schedule a rematch.

In a game that took two overtimes and well more than two hours to play, No. 6-seeded Vanderbilt upset No. 3-seeded Washington State, 78-74.

"Neither team deserved to lose," Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings said. "We didn't fight any harder than they did. We just made a couple of more plays."

Down by two points with 15 seconds left in the second overtime, Taylor Rochestie had a chance to put Washington State into the Sweet 16. But his three-point attempt from the top of the key hit the heel of the rim and led to Shan Foster's game-clinching basket at the other end of the court.

Vanderbilt (22-11) will play Georgetown on Friday in a regional semifinal game at East Rutherford, N.J.

Washington State, trying to win two games in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1941, finishes 26-8 after a worst-to-second dream season under first-year Coach Tony Bennett.

"Obviously it hurts," Bennett said. "But in time it won't take away what a special year it was."

Washington State led by as many as 10 points in the second half and was ahead, 50-43, with 11:50 left when Stallings, during a timeout, slammed his clipboard to the court as he berated his team's effort. The Commodores responded with a 12-4 run.

The score was tied 60-60 in regulation and 69-69 after the first overtime.

The breaking point in the second overtime came with the score tied, 71-71, when backup center Ted Skuchas made a follow shot to put Vanderbilt ahead by two.

Foster then stole a pass from Kyle Weaver and put the Commodores up by four with 2:33 left with his breakaway dunk.

Vanderbilt would have been out of the tournament without the heroics of senior forward Derrick Byars, the Southeastern Conference player of the year, who led all scorers with 27 points.

Byars and Foster, who finished with 20 points, played both overtimes with four fouls.

Junior guard Derrick Low led Washington State with 21 points.

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chris.dufresne@latimes.com

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