NASHVILLE, Tenn. (LEX 18) — For the second time this season, Kentucky dug itself into a first half hole against Vanderbilt. Just like the first meeting in Lexington, the Wildcats used a big second half to pull away with a victory, this one coming by a final score of 78-64 in Vanderbilt Memorial Gymnasium.
The win improves UK to 19-5 (9-2 SEC) while the loss drops Vanderbilt to 9-15 (1-10 SEC)
Tyrese Maxey led UK with 25 points in the win while Ashton Hagans (11 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists) recorded a double-double and was two assists shy of a triple-double. Immanuel Quickley (18 points) and Nick Richards (12 points) also broke double figures for the Wildcats.
Saben Lee led VU with 20 points in the loss.
Scotty Pippen Jr.'s 3-pointer to open the game set the tone for what would be a hot shooting half for VU. The Commodores hit eight 3-pointers in the first half alone, including one from Lee at the 4:43 mark of the first half to give Vanderbilt a 34-20 lead. A jumper from Maxey and a trio of Quickley free throws helped the Wildcats cut the deficit to nine points, 36-27, at halftime.
Trailing 44-35 with 15:06 to play, the Wildcats turned the momentum in their favor by going on an 16-2 run, capped off by a 3-pointer from Maxey that bounced all around the rim before falling in, to take a 51-46 lead. From that point forward, UK never trailed. The Wildcats seemed to be in control after stretching their lead to ten points, 61-51, with 5:29 to play.
However, the Commodores wouldn't go away; a bucket from Jordan Wright brought VU within five points, 62-57, and VU had a chance to make it a one-possession game after forcing a turnover. A Maxey steal and a Hagans 3-pointer sucked the Commodores' momentum away and jump started a 16-7 run to finish the game as the Wildcats pulled away for the 14-point win.
UK will look to reach 20 wins against Ole Miss on Saturday in Rupp Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. and the game can be streamed on ESPN.