Dores down IUPUI in defensive slugfest, 53-45

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – For 39 minutes and 30 seconds, Vanderbilt repeatedly missed open shots, particularly three-pointers. So when Shan Foster pulled up for his final shot attempt of the night, with the Commodores protecting just a five-point lead against IUPUI, there were a few nerves jingling in Memorial Gym.

But Foster found the bottom of the net, this time with a man in his face, and Vanderbilt emerged with a 53-45 victory over IUPUI.

"I couldn't hit my open shots tonight, but when I was covered, I made them," said Foster, who scored a team-high 12 points.

Vanderbilt shot a season-high 27 three-pointers, shot a season-low 37 percent and scored a season-low 53 points. But a 42-27 rebounding edge and a strong defensive effort helped Vanderbilt avoid an upset to the visitors from the Mid-Continent Conference.

"We couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with our open looks," said coach Kevin Stallings. "We were taking good shots and running good offense, believe it or not. That defense forces you to be patient."

IUPUI set up a 2-3 zone on the opening tip and did not leave it for 40 minutes. Vanderbilt had numerous open looks all night, but many came up short.

Julian Terrell's 12 rebounds, six on the offensive end, helped Vanderbilt get its necessary points, but the game itself was sure not pretty.

Stallings did have strong praise for his team's defensive effort, especially against guard George Hill. Hill entered the game averaging 18 points, but he shot just 3-for-12 and scored six.

Vanderbilt appeared to have put the game away with three minutes left, leading 50-37, but the Jaguars ripped off eight straight points to put a scare into Vanderbilt. With 57 seconds to play, the lead was just five. Curiously, IUPUI decided not to foul on the ensuing possession (Vanderbilt would have shot a one-and-one), and Foster nailed his game-clinching three-pointer with the shot clock winding down.

"We did a great job on the boards and a great job defensively and we were able to persevere even though it was not a thing of beauty," Stallings said.

Mario Moore came off the bench to score nine points, all in the first half. DeMarre Carroll had seven points and seven boards, and Derek Byars handed out six assists (though he was 0-for-5 from three).

In the end, Vanderbilt improved to 8-1 with tough road tests ahead against Dayton and Georgia Tech.

"We're happy to be 8-1," Terrell said. "At the beginning of the year, we weren't communicating on defense. Then we worked on that and our offense slipped a bit. Hopefully when we get back from Christmas break, everyone will start fresh."

IUPUI's Brandon Cole, right, knocks away a pass intended for Vanderbilt's Davis Nwankwo, center, as IUPUI's Michal Vavrek defends during the first half of a college basketball game in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, Dec. 22, 2005. (AP Photo/John Russell) Top Stories