March 15, 2007

Vanderbilt chops down George Washington

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Vanderbilt unveiled a top talent to the nation in a blowout win over George Washington -- and it wasn't Derrick Byars, the SEC's player of the year.

Shan Foster was the shouting, shooting star of the show as the Commodores rolled into the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Foster scored 18 points and led Vanderbilt's impressive defensive effort in a 77-44 victory over George Washington in the East Regional on Thursday.

Vanderbilt (21-11) will face Washington State in the second round Saturday after the Commodores' surprisingly easy victory in their first NCAA tournament game since 2004, when they reached the round of 16.

And Vandy did it with defense: George Washington (23-9) missed its first six shots and didn't get a field goal for nearly 6 1/2 minutes. The Colonials then endured another 11 1/2-minute stretch without a basket, falling behind by 29 late in the first half.

Foster's play in a 10-second span epitomized Vandy's dominance: He blocked Maureece Rice's jump shot, ran the floor and coolly hit a 3-pointer on the other end. A moment later, Foster gleefully yelled "We rollin', baby!" after Byars, who scored 12 points, hit a 3-pointer to put Vanderbilt up by 20.

Foster, a junior who made the all-conference second team in Byars' shadow, had as many field goals as the entire George Washington roster for most of the first 30 minutes. He also shadowed Rice, holding the Colonials' leading scorer without a point until midway through the second half, when Vanderbilt led by 32.

Rice scored three points on 1-for-9 shooting for George Washington, which won eight straight games and the Atlantic 10 tournament to earn its third straight NCAA bid.

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