The win places the #2-ranked Wildcats in the driver's seat to win the SEC East regular season conference crown. The Cats (26-1, 11-1 SEC) are now two full games ahead of Vanderbilt and three games ahead of Tennessee and Florida with just four games remaining in the regular season.
DeMarcus Cousins led all scorers with 19 points. Patrick Patterson and John Wall chipped in with 13-points each for Kentucky; Patterson added 13 rebounds. Vanderbilt's Jeffrey Taylor was the only Commodore in double-digits with 17.
The 58-point effort was UK's lowest scoring output of the season. The game was close all the way. In the first half, the Wildcats scratched out a modest 7-point lead 17-10 on a Cousins layup. But the Dores would battle back, holding UK scoreless for 4:20, eventually claiming a 1-point lead at the 7:11 mark of the first half.
The seesaw battle would continue deep into the second half, with neither team able to build a lead larger than four points. The key run for UK came near the five minute mark. With Vanderbilt holding a 50-46 lead, Cousins, Patterson and Eric Bledsoe sparked an 8-0 run to give the Cats a 4-point lead over the next two minutes setting up Wall's final minute heroics.
The game was slow and sloppy at times. Both teams shot poorly, well under 40%, and Vandy surprisingly beat Kentucky on the glass, out rebounding the Cats 37-29. Vandy committed a whopping 27 fouls but the Wildcats failed to capitalize, shooting just 57% from the line for the night.
The Wildcats defense suffocated Vandy's shooters, holding the league's best three-point shooting team to an abysmal 2-20 from long range. Kentucky did what it needed to do to win, and beating the second best team in the SEC on the road was a major victory.
Kentucky heads back to Lexington where they will host South Carolina. The Gamecocks are responsible for the single blemish on the Wildcats' record. The game begins at 9:00 PM in Rupp on Thursday night. Since beating UK, the Cocks have dropped four of their last six games.