Vandy brought fans to their feet
In 9.7 frantic seconds, Mike Vanderhoff scored eight incredible points.
He got a standing ovation from nearly 10,000 fans for his sterling performance.
I don't know if I've ever seen anything like it, says Western Oregon University head men's basketball coach Tom Kelly. It was amazing.
As just over 10,000 fans watched in Brigham Young's Marriott Center, Vanderhoff _ a former South Medford High player _ staged a spectacular one-man offensive show to temporarily rescue Western Oregon in the third-place game of the Cougar Classic Saturday at Provo, Utah.
Vanderhoff's explosion tied the score at 66 and sent the Wolves into overtime against NCAA Division I opponent Texas Southern, where they eventually lost, 82-77.
En route, Vanderhoff tied a career-high with 38 points.
I didn't have a lot of time to think, says Vanderhoff, of his scoring spree. I had to go score fast. I was hot and feeling confident, and I went for it.
Vanderhoff's scoring binge started with a 3-point bomb, making it 63-61, with just under 10 seconds on the clock. After a timeout and an immediate foul, Western gave up two free throws, but Vanderhoff streaked up the floor, picked up a screen from a teammate and buried another 3-pointer from just above the top of the key to cut the Texas Southern lead to 65-64.
Another Western Oregon timeout and foul ensued.
This time, Texas Southern converted just one of two free throws to up its lead to 66-64 with 4.5 seconds left. That was the ray of hope Vanderhoff needed to deliver again.
After the missed free throw by Texas Southern, the Wolves hit a streaking Vanderhoff for a layup as time ran out in regulation.
To me, 4.5 seconds is a lot of time, says Vanderhoff. I was running on the miss and they hit me just before mid-court. I got to the front of the rim and finger-rolled it in at the buzzer.
Mike had just made two 3-pointers in a row and the Texas Southern guys were worried he might shoot another one for the win rather than go for the tying basket, says Kelly. They gave him a little room and he split them. All he needs is a crack.
In the overtime, Western lost its momentum and the game. But nearly 10,000 fans stood to cheer Vanderhoff as he walked off the court.
At first, I thought they were cheering because the BYU team was coming out, says Vanderhoff. But they hadn't come out of the locker room yet. So I thought they might be cheering for me, but I wasn't sure.
Russ Blunck, the Western Oregon sports information director, was sure.
The fans were applauding Mike, he says. What he did was inspiring to them.
Vanderhoff, never one to back away from a shot, was fearless with the ball in his hands.
You bet I wanted the ball at the end, he says. I was playing real well and shooting it well. My confidence was up.
It's probably the best thing I've ever done, considering who we were playing.
Offensive explosions are nothing new to Vanderhoff, a 6-foot, 190-pound junior guard.
He's the all-time leading scorer in South Medford boys history (1,248 points).
Through eight games this year, Vanderhoff is averaging 21.0 points.
Last season, he averaged 23.5 per contest, the second-best single-season average in school history.
He's a complete player, says Kelly. He's a great shooter, he can jump and he's a lot stronger than he looks.
Vanderhoff started his college career in 1996 at Portland State University, then transferred to Western Oregon.