Sloppy Vanderbilt falls to Auburn, 68-65

AUBURN-- Rasheem Barrett scored 22 points as the Auburn Tigers upset a sloppy Vanderbilt basketball team, 68-65. On a gloomy night on the Plains, Vanderbilt missed multiple lay-ups and short jump shots. Worst of all, the Commodores lost an SEC game on the road that they had every reason to believe they would win.

Vanderbilt got off to a quick start, building an early 24-19 lead behind the hot 3-point shooting of Cage and Alex Gordon who combined for five 3-pointers during that span. After a timeout the Tigers changed defenses and limited the Commodores 3-point shooting attempts. Auburn, sparked by the 3-point shooting of Barrett, then retook the lead and ultimately took a 38-31 advantage going into the locker room.

In the second half Auburn built an 11-point lead at 44-33 with 18:20 remaining in the half. Vanderbilt rallied and grabbed the lead back at 53-51 with 8 minutes remaining. Auburn then went up for good at 63-61 with 3:24 remaining in the game on a Korvotney Barber jumper. Missed free throws, fouls and turnovers all doomed the Commodores in the final minutes. Trailing 68-65 with seconds remaining, Vanderbilt had a chance to tie the score but 3-point shots by Dan Cage and Jermaine Beal both missed.

After the game a clearly frustrated Shan Foster, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds, talked about the numerous missed opportunities, "It's hard to win games when you're missing lay-ups. We missed a number of lay-ups; we missed a number of free throws. It's hard to win on the road when you don't take advantage of easy opportunities. That's what happened tonight. Auburn played great, and shot the ball well."

Other scorers for Vanderbilt included Jermaine Beal 9; Derrick Byars 8; Ross Neltner 7; Alex Gordon 6; Alan Metcalfe 2 and Ted Skuchas 2. Vanderbilt out rebounded Auburn 43-32 but the Commodores managed to make only 38 percent of their shots from the field despite making 46 percent (12-26) of their 3-point shots. Vandy also struggled from the line, making just 9-17 free throws.

Vanderbilt falls to 10-5 (0-1 SEC) and will host rival Tennessee on Wednesday night at Memorial Gym. Auburn improves to 11-5 (1-0 SEC). The Tigers travel to Kentucky on Wednesday.

Vanderbilt's Shan Foster looks for shot while being guarded by Auburn's Quan Prowell and Kelvin Lewis, left, during the first half of a basketball game Saturday, Jan. 6, 2007, in Auburn, Ala. Auburn won 68-65. (AP Photo/Anthony Hall) Top Stories