Cats begin SEC play with a win over #13 Vandy

The Kentucky Wildcats began SEC play with a 79-73 victory over the previously unbeaten Vanderbilt Commodores. The victory was the first of the season for the Wildcats over a ranked opponent. Vanderbilt entered the game #13 in the coaches' poll and #12 in the AP poll.

The Kentucky Wildcats held a 46-30 advantage over the visiting Vanderbilt Commodores at the 14:20 mark of the second-half of their SEC opener in Rupp Arena. It was Kentucky's largest lead of the game, and one that would vanish down the stretch, as Kentucky needed to withstand a strong Vandy comeback in order to dispatch the Commodores in double-overtime 79-73.

Kentucky seniors Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawford combined to score twenty-eight of the Cat's final thirty-two points to hold off the ‘Dores.

Crawford's defensive effort was instrumental in the second half, as he held Vanderbilt's leading scorer, Shan Foster, in check during the extra periods, after he had hit a three to tie the game at 65 all, and set up the first overtime late in regulation.

Kentucky was able to dominate the boards, as they out rebounded Vanderbilt 45-23. The tremendous rebounding advantage led Kentucky to an 18-2 advantage on second chance points over the visitors.

Kentucky was led by freshman Patrick Patterson's double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Bradley added 20 for the home team, scoring all of the points in the second half. Crawford scored 17 for the Cats. Mark Coury had a strong offensive game, scoring 9 points for Kentucky.

Bradley and Patterson each played the entire 50 minutes, and Crawford played 48 minutes as the Cats were shorthanded. Jodie Meeks sat out the game with the strained hip flexor, and Michael Porter was limited by a back injury. Sophomore Derrick Jasper was involved in a scrum for a loose ball late in the second-half and appeared to bang his surgically repaired knee, causing him to head to the bench and not return. The injury has been diagnosed as a sprained MCL, and Jasper is listed as day-to-day.

Kentucky established a season high 12 steals, including five by Perry Stevenson, and forced the Commodores into 22 turnovers, but committed 23 miscues of their own.

Foster led Vanderbilt in scoring with 20 points, and the big Australian frosh center A.J. Ogilvy added 16 for the Commodores, including an offensive put back with 1.8 seconds remaining in the first OT to force a second extended session. Alex Gordon added 12 points and Darshawn McClellan added ten.

Neither team displayed their normally good shooting from the charity stripe. Kentucky was 24-36, for 67%, and Vanderbilt was 16-25 for 64%.

The Wildcats led by ten at the half, 32-22.

Kentucky improves to 7-7 on the season, and 1-0 in the SEC. Vanderbilt's record is now 16-1 and 1-1 in the SEC.

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