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Gonzaga Basketball

Matthew Fisher-Davis’ ill-advised foul dooms Vanderbilt

UPDATED: THURSDAY, MARCH 16, 2017, 9:09 P.M.

Matthew Fisher-Davis (5) walks off the court following Vanderbilt’s loss in the NCAA Tournament Thursday, March 16, 2017, in Salt Lake City. (Rick Bowmer / AP)
Northwestern Wildcats guard Bryant McIntosh (30) congratulates Northwestern Wildcats forward Gavin Skelly (44) after score and drawing the foul during the second half of a first round NCAA men’s college basketball tournament game, Thurs., March 16, 2017, at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

SALT LAKE CITY – With 16 seconds left in No. 8 seed Northwestern’s 68-66 victory over No. 9 seed Vanderbilt, you could have made a pretty good case for Matthew Fisher-Davis as game MVP.

The Commodores guard had come off the bench to lead his team with 22 points in 31 minutes, snapped the team’s first-half scoring drought and hit a 3-pointer to cap a 9-0 run that brought NU within six points in the middle of the second half after trailing by 15.

And, with 16 seconds left, it looked like he had led a comeback that would send Vanderbilt to the tournament’s second round. But one second later, with his team leading by a point, Fisher-Davis fouled NU’s Bryant McIntosh to purposefully send him to the free throw line. Fisher-Davis didn’t know his team was winning.

“I made a dumbass foul,” Fisher-Davis told Dan Wolken of USA Today in the Commodores’ locker room after the game.

“He made a mistake at the end, yeah, I mean I’m not sure what happened,” said teammate Luke Kornet. “He’s the type of person that he feels some blame for it. The second half, we had no chance if he didn’t make some of the shots that he did.”

McIntosh made both free throws after the foul, giving NU a one-point lead. The Commodores still had one last look at the basket, but Riley Lachance’s deep 3-pointer with six seconds left was off the mark.

At that point a foul was actually necessary for Vanderbilt, so Joe Toye sent Sanjay Lumpkin to the line with less than two seconds remaining. Lumpkin made one free throw to pad the final score, and Vanderbilt’s last heave was well wide of the mark.

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