USA Today/Jim Brown

Vandy dominates second half in 74-62 win over Kentucky Wildcats

The road has been a nemesis for almost every team in the Top 25 this season, and Kentucky's game Saturday at Vanderbilt was no exception.

The Commodores held the No. 16 Wildcats to only one basket over the final nine-plus minutes to earn a much-needed 74-62 win that may have solidified their NCAA Tournament chances. 

Vandy (18-11, 10-6 SEC) won its third consecutive game and moved within one game of league-leading Kentucky and Texas A&M, which won 84-69 at Missouri.

Matthew Fisher-Davis led four Commodores in double figures with a career-high 20 points, including four 3-pointers that helped his team overcome a seven-point deficit in the second half. Jeff Roberson followed with 16 points, while Damian Jones and Wade Baldwin added 15 and 14, respectively.

"Vanderbilt played a great game and fought like heck to win," UK head coach John Calipari said. "And when it got rough, they out-fought us. That's what this came down to. And it would have been nice for Tyler (Ulis) to make two or three shots. Maybe it would have been a different game."

Kentucky (21-8, 11-5 SEC) got a game-high 33 points and nine rebounds from freshman guard Jamal Murray, but it was a rough day for sophomore point guard Ulis, who went 5-for-20 from the floor and finished below his average with just 12 points. Senior forward Alex Poythress went scoreless before fouling out with 6:25 remaining.

The Cats hurt their chances with a woeful 10-for-23 shooting performance at the free-throw line.

UK played its second game without starting forward Derek Willis, who suffered a severe ankle sprain on Feb. 20 in the Cats' loss to Texas A&M. Without him, Murray is the only player to make a 3-pointer for the Cats.

In this AW "Rapid Recap" feature, we touch on some quick-hitters from the Cats' loss...

KEY MOMENT:

Trailing 45-38 with 17:49 remaining, Vandy went on a 13-2 run that included a three-point play by Jones and a pair of treys by Fisher-Davis. Kentucky never regained the lead as they closed the game 1-for-12 from the field and missed six of their 10 free throw attempts. 

BY THE NUMBERS:

0 - Bench points for UK.

8 - Consecutive games over 20 points for the Cats' Murray, who recorded his third 30-plus scoring game of the season.

+10 - Vandy edge on points in the paint.

11 - Points off turnovers for Dores. UK committed only five turnovers, but it paid for all of them.

0-for-16 - Kentucky 3-point shooting other than Murray.

21 - First-half points by Murray, the most ever for a Calipari player at UK.

QUOTABLE:

"The thing that disappoints me is this was like an NCAA Tournament game, and we had some guys that didn't ring the bell." -- UK head coach John Calipari.

UP NEXT:

The Cats travel to Gainesville, Fla., on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. ET matchup with the Gators. Florida (17-11, 8-7 SEC) plays at LSU later tonight.


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