- Ron Irby/AP
With one day of the NCAA Tournament in the books, Vanderbilt holds the title for most heartbreaking loss.
After his team took a one-point lead with 20 seconds to go, Vanderbilt junior guard Matthew Fisher-Davis committed a mind-boggling foul against Northwestern, sending them to the free-throw line for two shots.
Northwestern hit both shots, then held onto the lead to give them their first tournament win. Vanderbilt, meanwhile, was sent packing after rallying from 15 down to take the lead late in the second half.
After the game, Fisher-Davis admitted what everyone assumed – he simply forgot the time and score and made a mistake.
“I made a dumb-ass foul,” Fisher-Davis said. “That was it. I saw [head coach Bryce] Drew point but that was just to tell me I [was defending] 30. I made a dumb-ass foul. Obviously it’s hard to take. I especially feel bad for our seniors, going out like that, off a play like that.”
But while Fisher-Davis was hard on himself, Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew had a much more understanding, sympathetic response:
“He made a mistake at the end, yeah, I mean I’m not sure what happened. 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. I just wanted to let him know that, we’re with him no matter what. Every single one of us and what our team is. I’m going to make mistakes and everybody is going to be around me and supporting me and vice versa. That was just how it was.”
“You know, from day one, we teach our guys that we’re a team. And one play at the end or one or two plays at the end doesn’t lose a game for us. There’s plays throughout the whole game that coaches can call better, that players can play better, we’ve had that pattern through the whole year with our guys. I’ll talk to Matt more in depth at some point. He’s down about it. It could have been a miscommunication. He looked over at me before. But one play doesn’t lose the game for you. And I’m proud of the guys fighting back and being in that situation. Without him we’re not even close to being in that situation at the end.”
As Drew noted, the foul will overshadow a solid game from Fisher-Davis, who scored 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting. Unfortunately, he forgot the time and score – a simple situation spectators often forget players can lose track of – and that mistake directly impacted the game.
While Fisher-Davis may not forgive himself soon, Drew did a good job of coming to his defense and supporting him at a low moment.