Matt York, Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sometimes, shooters have tough nights. The rim rattles, the ball finds too much iron, not enough net. John Jenkins and Jeffery Taylor both felt that sting Saturday night.
The Southeastern Conference's top two scorers accounted for just 22 points in Vanderbilt's 60-57 loss to Wisconsin in the third round of the NCAA tournament's Eastern Regional.
During the year, Jenkins (20.1) and Taylor (16.3) averaged a lot more.
"Well, people who are going to shoot have off days," said Jenkins, who was 3 of 13 and finished with 13 points. "And it was one of mine today, unfortunately."
Taylor wasn't much better, missing 8 of 12 shots and scoring nine points on the same floor where he led Hobbs to the New Mexico state big-schools championship in 2008.
"I was hoping to get the same kind of ending I got last time I was here," Taylor said. "It was really nice to be able to come back and play in front of New Mexico fans and friends and family that I haven't gotten an opportunity to play in front of for four years.
"But this wasn't the outcome that we were looking for. We wanted to come down here and win two games. Unfortunately, they just made a couple more plays than we did down that stretch of the game."
Taylor didn't blame the Badgers' badgering, top-ranked defense as much as old-fashioned misfortune for all the errant shots.
"I think it was more a matter of the ball not going in," he said. "All of my shots pretty much felt good. They just were a little bit short or a little bit too long. Things like that happen in basketball."
No miss was bigger than Jenkins' off-target 3-pointer with 4 seconds left and the Commodores trailing 59-57.
"It was a pretty good look," Jenkins said. "... It just didn't drop for me."
Jenkins created some space between him and Jarred Berggren, but like so many of his other shots on this night, it was long, and the Badgers came up with the rebound.
"He was wide open," lamented Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings. "He's a great shooter, period. He's a really great shooter going left, and he was going left and he was wide open. They were afraid to switch because we had gotten them on the roll a couple times, so they didn't show out. It might have been the best look he had the whole game.
"So we ran the play, ran it to perfection. Got it right where we wanted him, and he's made so many that have caused us to win games, and unfortunately, that one just didn't go in."
Ryan Evans grabbed the rebound among a mash pit of bodies pushing and shoving underneath the basket, drawing the foul with 2.1 seconds left. Stallings wanted a whistle on the Badgers.
If the Badgers, who are headed to Boston to face Syracuse next, didn't get away with a foul, they know they got away with a rare defensive breakdown.
"He's one of the best scorers in the country, one of the best shooters in the country," Badgers point guard Jordan Taylor said of Jenkins. "So when you see a guy get a look like that, your heart kind of drops. I know my mom already bought tickets to Boston, so I was hoping that it didn't go in."
Evans sank the first free throw but after a Vandy timeout, he missed the second and the Commodores called another timeout with 1.3 seconds left to set up the full-court play for a chance to send it to overtime.
Berggren got his right hand on Lance Goulbourne's overhand heave, however, and the Badgers, celebrated a return trip to the Round of 16, where they lost last year to Butler.
Taylor blamed his bad night on picking up two quick fouls, which limited his minutes in the first half, when he had no points and just one rebound.
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