'Dores Fight Back for Overtime WinListen to Postgame Interviews

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — Shan Foster and A.J. Ogilvy were struggling, and the Commodores were cracking under the intensity of a revved up opponent. But before everything went to pieces, Vanderbilt put things together.

Foster and Ogilvy provided the glue late in the game as the Commodores (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) rallied for a 91-85 overtime win over DePaul on Wednesday night to remain undefeated.

At 10-0, Vanderbilt is off to its best start since the 2003-04 team won its first 12. But this one didn’t come easily.

“We just have a fight in us,” Foster said. “We went into the locker room saying we were going to fight regardless of what the score was, and we were just fortunate enough to get back in the game.”

The Commodores trailed by 12 at halftime and 58-40 early in the second half before roaring back. They finally tied it at 79 when Ross Neltner whipped a pass to Ogilvy underneath for a layup with 22 seconds left in regulation.

The game went to overtime after DePaul’s Draelon Burns missed a wild baseline jumper in the closing seconds.

Ogilvy’s dunk gave Vanderbilt an 82-81 lead with 3:39 left in the extra period and Foster’s 3-pointer with just more than two minutes remaining made it 85-81.

After Burns’ layup pulled DePaul to 87-85 with 28 seconds left, Ogilvy sprinted the other way for a dunk. Vanderbilt’s Jermaine Beal then hit two free throws to make it 91-85 with 13 seconds left.

The SEC’s top two scorers, Foster and Ogilvy were non-factors for much of the night, but both finished with 19 points. Not bad considering Foster took just three shots and scored six points in the first half and that Ogilvy had more fouls (three) than shots (two) at intermission.

“I had to play a lot smarter in the second half,” said Ogilvy, who finished with nine rebounds.

Vanderbilt’s bench play can be credited for igniting its second-half comeback. Reserves Alan Metcalfe and Keegan Bell both finished with career-highs in points, 18 and 12 respectively, and combined for seven three-pointers. Bell also contributed eight assists while committing no turnovers.

Burns led DePaul (2-4) with 24 points, while Mac Koshwal scored 21 and grabbed seven rebounds.

It was a disappointing loss for DePaul, coming off an 84-66 thumping at No. 3 Kansas.

“It’s really tough right now,” Burns said. “I think we played harder than we played against Kansas.”

The Blue Demons were leading 58-40 after Cliff Clinscales connected with a cutting Dar Tucker for an alley-oop dunk 4:45 into the second half. That drew a roar from the crowd and, apparently, woke up Vanderbilt.

“We knew we weren’t playing our best basketball,” Foster said. “At some point, things had to start going our way.”

The Commodores pulled to 74-70 on a two-handed dunk by Ogilvy with three minutes left in regulation, before consecutive layups by the Blue Demons’ Koshwal and Burns made it 78-70 with 2:12 left.

But Vanderbilt wasn’t finished.

A 3-pointer by Foster made it 79-75 with 1:00 left, and two free throws by Alex Gordon made it a two-point game with 41.6 seconds remaining. DePaul’s Burns then had to call two timeouts — first after being trapped and then when he couldn’t find an open man on the inbounds.

Burns finally found Karron Clarke breaking toward the basket, but Clarke missed two free throws with 33.1 seconds left. So instead of a two-possession game, there was an opening for Vanderbilt to tie it.

“It hurt us that we burned our two timeouts to get the ball inbounds,” DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright said. “Draelon made the right call. We had a couple guys who didn’t really break as hard as they had to to get to the basketball.”

More painful was what happened at the foul line. DePaul went 12-for-21 there, and that allowed Vanderbilt to stay in the game.

“I’ve known guys that shoot 95 percent, 85 percent, and you wouldn’t want them on the line late in the game,” Wainwright said. “I’m not saying that about my team. There’s an emotional flow with young people.

“When the pressure really gets to you, sometimes you respond in a positive way, sometimes you respond in a negative way. We win the game if we make free throws,” he said.