Commodores come up short against Wisconsin 60-57

By Arnie Stapleton

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, March 17 2012 8:40 p.m. MDT

"When you start off the game like that and you have to kind of play spot minutes, it's tough to get into the rhythm of the game," he said. "So, yeah, it was a tough first half."

And an even tougher finish.

The fourth-seeded Badgers (26-9) were led by Jordan Taylor's 14 points and also got 12 from Berggren, 11 from Evans and reserve Ben Brust and 10 from Mike Bruesewitz.

The Commodores outrebounded the Badgers 35-30 but couldn't come up with the big boards in the final minute.

Berggren grabbed a miss by Evans with 46 seconds to go and then Josh Gasser, who was hooked up to IVs earlier in the day after waking up sick, grabbed another board with 16.3 seconds left. He missed the front end of a 1-and-1, however, giving Jenkins the chance in the closing seconds to send fifth-seeded Vandy (25-11) to the regional semifinals for the first time since 2007.

Stifled by a team that allowed just 52.8 points coming in, Vanderbilt didn't take its first lead until the first minute of the second half, on Jeffery Taylor's first basket of the night.

The Commodores actually outshot Wisconsin 43.5 percent to 41.8. But they made just 5 of 19 3-pointers, and the Badgers made 10 of 33.

After Brust's layup and 3-pointer from the right corner gave the Badgers their biggest lead at 53-44 with 6:33 remaining, the Badgers had trouble with Vandy's 2-3 zone and the Commodores went on a 13-3 run, taking a 57-56 lead on Festus Ezeli's layup with 2:25 remaining.

Jordan Taylor restored Wisconsin's lead with a contested 3-pointer from the top of the circle and the Badgers turned to defense to improve to 4-0 at The Pit. They also won twice here in 2000, advancing to the Final Four.

Ezeli led the Commodores with 14 points but he didn't start and the Badgers took advantage. Evans hit a jumper, a 3-pointer and a bank shot from the paint before the Commodores knew what hit them.

Behind Ezeli's 8 first-half points, the Commodores pulled to 32-31 at the break on Brad Tinsley's NBA-long 3-pointer at the buzzer.

"I'm really proud of my team and proud of my seniors, especially," Stallings said. "They've given us so much over the course of their careers. It really hurts for them because they've invested so much in our program and done so much that's good and right in college athletics."

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