UK-VU: UK Claws Past Vandy, 84-70

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Patrick Sparks, Kelenna Azubuike and Chuck Hayes each scored 15 points, and No. 6 Kentucky beat Vanderbilt 84-70 Saturday for its seventh straight victory.

Kentucky (17-2, 8-0 Southeastern Conference) swept the season series between the teams and now has beaten Vanderbilt in 24 of the last 26 games. The Wildcats also have won 17 straight SEC games, counting last year's postseason.

The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Commodores (13-9, 4-5), who had won 27 of their previous 30 at home over the last two seasons.

Hayes had a team-high 13 rebounds, and Rajon Rondo added 12 points for Kentucky, which is off to its best start since the 1998 NCAA title team began the season 19-2.

Corey Smith led Vanderbilt with 16 points, Mario Moore had 15 off the bench, and Dawid Przybyszewski and DeMarre Carroll each had 12.

Kentucky took control from the beginning by scoring the first nine points. Vanderbilt missed its first four shots and didn't get on the board until Przybyszewski's 3-pointer five minutes into the game.

By then, it was too late.

The Wildcats led 46-29 at halftime after Azubuike hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer. They led by as many as 71-47 midway through the second half. Vandy managed to get within 10 twice in the final minute, but it was too late.

The Commodores outrebounded Kentucky 37-33 and shot the ball about as well as the Wildcats (25-of-51 compared to 31-of-63). But they were only 8-of-26 from 3-point range, and Kentucky turned its 19 turnovers into 30 points.

Vanderbilt hit five of its first six shots in the second half and used a 9-2 spurt to pull to 54-42 on a free throw by Jason Holwerda with 16:21 left. But Sparks helped Kentucky put the game out of reach.

Sparks first hit a 3-pointer. Smith answered with a 3, then Sparks scored on a layup. Hayes made a 3-pointer, then Sparks followed up with his own 3 and a layup. He stole the ball, and Ravi Moss scored on a layup that capped a 17-5 run for the 71-47 lead.


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