Vanderbilt Edges Wake Forest, 83-80Watch Postgame Interviews


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Shan Foster and A.J. Ogilvy nearly beat Wake Forest by themselves.

Foster tied a season-high with 26 points, and Ogilvy tied a career-high with 23 points to give Vanderbilt (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today, No. 23 AP)an 83-80 win over Wake Forest on Wednesday night.

Ogilvy made a hook shot with 30 seconds left, and Foster’s late 3-point shooting sealed the game and kept the Commodores unbeaten.

“I’ve been practicing that shot a lot, so I knew it would go in,” Ogilvy said. “It’s my favorite move.”

The duo has scored in double digits every game this season for Vanderbilt (8-0), which is off to its best start since the 2003-2004 season — when they reached the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament.

Even Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said he has been surprised out how well Ogilvy, a freshman from Australia, has played with Foster.

“I’m just kind of learning,” Stallings said. “It’s been pretty good this season.”

Harvey Hale and James Johnson led Wake Forest with 18 points apiece, but late fouls cost Wake Forest.

Johnson put the Demon Deacons (5-2) ahead 78-76 with 1:45 to play for their first lead since 5-4. Ogilvy then scored six-straight points, and Jermaine Beal hit a free throw to give Vanderbilt its second consecutive win over an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent. The Commodores also defeated Georgia Tech 92-79 on Saturday.

Wake Forest kept it close, but couldn’t take advantage of some great opportunities in the closing minutes.

“We had a chance to steal it at the end,” Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio said. “And we let it slip.”

He’s not kidding.

Ishmael Smith tied the game at 72 on a pair of 3-pointers with just over five minutes to play. But the Wake Forest guard slipped on a breakaway layup with less than four minutes to play and also missed an open dunk earlier — two baskets Wake Forest desperately could have used.

“The kid is crying his eyes out in the locker room,” Gaudio said. “He’s devastated.”

Wake Forest players did not come out of the locker room after the game, and Gaudio said the loss will be hard to swallow.

Each team was in the bonus the final 11 minutes, but Wake Forest failed to capitalize. The Commodores shot 23-for-27 from the stripe, while the Demon Deacons were just 13-for 20.

Vanderbilt’s first game as a ranked team proved to be its toughest, as Wake Forest was trying for its first road win against a ranked foe in two years. The last time the Demon Deacons defeated a ranked opponent on the road was Jan. 22, 2005, when they took down No. 20 Cincinnati.

Vanderbilt, which is off to the fifth-best start in school history, still wasn’t satisfied with its effort.

But before conference play begins in January, the Commodores could likely roll out to 15-0, as they should be favored against their remaining weaker nonconference opponents.

“It feels great,” Foster said of the fast start. “At the same time, I think we could be so much better. There’s so much potential on this team. We are still making a lot of mistakes. If we cut down on those, we could really be dangerous.”

Vanderbilt never led by more than six points in the second half, and the teams traded baskets nearly the entire game.

Ogilvy scored Vanderbilt’s first eight points to help the Commodores build an 11-5 lead. After Vanderbilt went ahead by double digits, Wake Forest went on a 10-2 run capped by consecutive 3-pointers by Hale that closed the deficit to 25-23.

Foster answered with consecutive scores from beyond the arc to stretch Vanderbilt’s lead to 33-25, but the Demon Deacons tightened the game to 35-31 by half.

“We need to win when those guys score 49 points,” Stallings said. “And they’ve been pretty consistent all season.”