WCU sinks Vanderbilt with last-second basket

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Vonterius Woolbright scored 22 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and hit the game-winning shot with 1.5 seconds left, leading Western Carolina to a 63-62 upset of Vanderbilt on Tuesday in Nashville.

Russell Jones Jr. scored 16 points for the Catamounts (9-2), while DJ Campbell added 12.

Ezra Manjon led the Commodores (4-7) with 18 points, while Tyrin Lawrence had 10. Evan Taylor finished with eight points and eight rebounds.

Vanderbilt shot just 1-for-14 from 3-point range, though it turned the ball over just seven times to Western Carolina’s 15.

With the Catamounts trailing by seven with 2:52 left, Jackson canned a 3-pointer, and Jones sank three foul shots 35 seconds later to slice the deficit to one.

With 49.6 seconds to play, Woolbright drove the left side of the lane and laid it in between three defenders to put the Catamounts ahead 61-60.

Following Manjon’s turnover with 38 seconds remaining, Lawrence stole the ball back, and Manjon’s fastbreak layup put the Commodores on top 62-61 with nine seconds to play.

But Woolbright drove the lane, stopped and then hit a spinning, left-handed scoop-shot for the game’s final points.

Taylor missed from around 60 feet as time expired.

Western Carolina jumped out to a 12-2 lead and never trailed in the first half, reaching the break with a 30-25 lead.

With the Catamounts in the midst of a shooting funk, Manjon took over for the Commodores early in the second half, scoring Vanderbilt’s first eight points of the period and getting the Commodores within 36-35 by sinking a jumper in the paint with 15:52 left.

Evan Taylor’s free throws with 7:53 to go gave the Commodores their first lead, and Jason Rivera-Torres hit a layup followed by a pair of free throws with 6:37 left to put Vanderbilt up by six.

But the Commodores couldn’t hit shots late, allowing Western Carolina to escape with the upset.

Vanderbilt played without its starting frontcourt of Colin Smith and Ven-Allen Lubin.

Smith, who hurt an Achilles tendon on Saturday in the Commodores’ loss to Texas Tech, has been ruled out for the season. Lubin missed the Tuesday game with a groin injury.