Well, this was a strange move.
Vanderbilt’s game against Northwestern in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City was everything you’d want to see from March Madness. There was a tight, dramatic ending that offered all sorts of goosebumps.
Sadly for Commodores fans, there’s an aggravating “what-if” to go with the 68-66 loss.
With 14 seconds left and Vanderbilt leading 66-65, Commodores guard Matthew Fisher-Davis fouled Northwestern’s Bryant McIntosh for reasons we don’t understand. McIntosh finished with a game-high 25 points, including a perfect 2-for-2 on free throws after the sequence below.
Vanderbilt didn’t see the lead again.
Matthew Fisher-Davis fouls Northwestern's best player up one pic.twitter.com/P2jPMle9MI
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 16, 2017
Charles Barkley had plenty to say about the development on the post-game broadcast. He’s spot-on with these words.
“People always say what they would do under pressure, and you don’t know that until you get into that situation,” Barkley said. “Clearly, the kid panicked. Vandy was up 1, Bryce was yelling something, and the kid just made a mistake. There’s no need to foul in this situation and give the other team two free throws. He just had a brain lock, or a brain freeze or however you want to phrase it. Just a really awful play. Listen, the kid played well and that’s a really tough way to lose a game.”
Obviously, this is a brutal way for Vanderbilt’s season to end. The Commodores finish with a 19-16 record.