Northwestern Wins Because of Impossibly Stupid Mistake From Vanderbilt

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

In a game between two of the most highly regarded academic schools in the NCAA tournament, a boneheaded mistake contributed greatly to No. 8 Northwestern's victory over No. 9 Vanderbilt in the first round of March Madness.

After a Riley LaChance layup gave the Commodores a late 66-65 lead, his teammate Matthew Fisher-Davis inexplicably fouled Wildcats guard Bryant McIntosh intentionally with 14 seconds left, giving Northwestern the opportunity to take a late lead.

"I don't know why he did that," said NU guard Sanjay Lumpkin. "I actually said to [Vanderbilt guard Nolan] Cressler at the free throw line when he was about to shoot the free throws, I didn't really see it, so I asked him why he did that. He was like, 'Dude, I have no idea.'"

LaChance then missed a potential game-winner as Vandy fell 68-66.

"I didn't know the score, to be honest," Fisher-Davis told ESPN after the loss. " … Saw Coach [Bryce] Drew point at my man, he was just telling me my matchup, and I got it confused with the foul. That was it."

The junior said his teammates were supportive of him in the locker room.

"We really just talked as a team after the game," Fisher-Davis said. "We all love each other to death. Definitely the closest team I've ever been on — managers, the coaches, everybody in between — and just that they love me and I played a part in helping us coming back."

However, Vanderbilt likely wouldn't have been in a position to make an error like that if it weren't for Fisher-Davis. He came off the bench to lead the team in scoring, with 22 points. At one point in the second half, the Commodores trailed by 15.

"It was a collective effort in coming back, and it was my dumb mistake why we lost," Fisher-Davis said.