Commentary

Instant Analysis: WKU hits 3s, including buzzer-beater, to edge Drake

Originally Published: March 21, 2008
By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

Editor's Note: ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach provides instant analysis of Western Kentucky's 101-99 overtime upset over No. 5 Drake in the first round of the West Regional at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa.

TAMPA, Fla. -- Drake came back from a 16-point deficit in the second half and forced overtime on a late 3-pointer. But after going ahead by one point with 5.7 seconds to go in overtime, the Bulldogs lost on a buzzer-beater in what will probably be remembered as one of the classics in NCAA tournament history.

Game analysis: Western Kentucky 101, Drake 99 (overtime)


HOW THE GAME WAS WON: With Western Kentucky trailing 99-98 with 5.7 left in OT, Hilltoppers guard Tyrone Brazelton frantically drove the basketball up the court. With about two seconds to go, he kicked a pass out to senior Ty Rogers on the right wing. Rogers let a 3-pointer fly with 1.2 seconds left and nailed it at the buzzer for a 101-99 victory.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Brazelton scored a career-high 33 points on 11-for-20 shooting. He went 6-for-10 on 3-pointers, including one in overtime, after Drake had gone ahead 96-93 with less than 1:30 to play. The senior from Chicago also had five rebounds, five assists and two steals.

PLAYER OF THE GAME II: Drake's Jonathan Cox scored 29 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, both career highs, and nearly led the Bulldogs to an improbable comeback. Drake roared back from a 16-point deficit in the second half, tying the score at 88-88 on Cox's 3-pointer with 30.6 seconds to go in regulation. Cox made two foul shots with 5.7 seconds to go in overtime to put Drake ahead, 99-98.

STAT OF THE GAME: 14-for-28. Western Kentucky shot 50 percent on 3-pointers and seemed to answer Drake each time the Bulldogs tried to gain momentum.

STAT OF THE GAME II: 42. The number of 3-pointers the Bulldogs attempted. Drake took 69 shots in the game.

STAT OF THE GAME III: 0-for-10. Shooting line for Drake guard Adam Emmenecker, the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year. He scored 11 points at the foul line and had 14 assists and came up with two of the biggest defensive plays of the game. But it was a dreadful shooting performance for the senior.

BEST OFF THE BENCH: Western Kentucky's A.J. Slaughter scored 10 points with four rebounds and four assists before fouling out with 24.6 seconds to go in overtime.

WHAT IT MEANS: Western Kentucky moves to the second round to face either No. 4 seed Connecticut or No. 13 seed San Diego in the West Regional on Sunday. The Bulldogs, the MVC regular-season champions, end the season with a 28-5 record.

First-half analysis: WKU 47, Drake 38


TURNING POINT: When Western Kentucky senior Courtney Lee picked up his second foul with 4:26 to go in the half, the Hilltoppers seemed to be in trouble. Lee, who averaged 20.4 points per game, spent the rest of the half on the bench. Western Kentucky led 34-32 when Lee went out. After Drake tied the score at 34-34 on Josh Young's two foul shots with 3:56 to play, Western Kentucky closed the half with a 13-4 run to take a 47-38 lead at the half. Three Hilltoppers -- Tyrone Brazelton, Orlando Mendez-Valdez and A.J. Slaughter -- made 3-pointers during the big run to end the half.

PLAYER OF THE HALF: Drake was hot from the perimeter early in the first half and took a 15-10 lead with 14:03 left to play. But Brazelton made 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to pull the Hilltoppers within 18-16 with 12:43 to go in the half. The senior guard from Chicago scored nine points on 3-for-5 3-point shooting in the first half. He also had four assists, two rebounds and one steal. His 3-pointers couldn't have come at better times for the Hilltoppers.

STAT OF THE HALF: Western Kentucky shot 60.6 percent in the first half, making 20 of 33 shots. Only one of Drake's last eight opponents shot better than 50 percent from the floor.

STAT OF THE HALF II: The Bulldogs attempted 28 shots in the first half, including a whopping 17 3-pointers. Drake often settled too quickly for 3-pointers and rarely allowed its offense to progress.

PREGAME LUCK: Drake's players and coaches are staying at a rather ritzy hotel near the Tampa airport. The hotel is close to the New York Yankees' spring training facility, and outfielder Johnny Damon had dinner Thursday night at an Italian restaurant inside the hotel. Alas, Damon has shaved his beard and cut his hair, so he couldn't offer any good luck charms for the Bulldogs.

Mark Schlabach is a college football and basketball writer for ESPN.com.

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