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Kentucky bounces back, dominates Vanderbilt, 85-72

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - DeMarcus Cousins posted his 12th
double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds as No. 1 Kentucky
bounced back from an upset loss to South Carolina with a 85-72 win
over No. 21 Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Darnell Dodson added 16 points in a rare start for the Wildcats
(20-1, 5-1 Southeastern Conference), who played like the nation's
top-ranked team for long stretches in front of special guest LeBron
James.
Kentucky built an early 19-point lead then made it hold up while
the NBA superstar, a friend of coach John Calipari, watched from
courtside.
Jermaine Beal led the Commodores (16-4, 5-1) with 19 points, but
Vanderbilt couldn't pull off its second road upset of the week in a
physical, whistle-plagued game that featured 58 fouls and very
little flow.
Calipari called Kentucky's loss to the Gamecocks on Tuesday a
much-needed reality check, saying his team had gotten a little too
full of itself after the best start in over four decades.
A phone call from president Barack Obama hours before the game
didn't help, as the Wildcats were stunned in the second half.
Kentucky regained its focus against the Commodores, hardly
bothered by the presence of James, who created a buzz when he made
his entrance a few minutes in.
By then the Wildcats already had the lead thanks to Cousins. The
freshman converted four three-point plays in the first eight
minutes, destroying whatever defense Vanderbilt threw his way.
When the Commodores tried to double-team, Cousins would spin
toward the baseline for an easy basket or throw the pass to an open
teammate for a jumper - the latest facet in his quickly developing
game.
And there were good looks aplenty for the Wildcats, who made 12
of 23 3-point attempts and dominated the boards, outrebounding
Vanderbilt 41-22, leading to 20 second-chance points.
Kentucky's dominance in the lane helped make up for a less than
spectacular performance from freshman star John Wall.
The point guard finished with 13 points, nine assists and seven
turnovers in 34 minutes. He shot just 4 of 12 from the field as the
Commodores did a fantastic job of keeping Kentucky out of
transition. The Wildcats failed to score a fast break basket for
the first time in memory.
Not that it mattered. Kentucky needed less than 10 minutes to
build a double-digit lead and this time made it hold up, a sign of
progress for a team that Calipari has consistently chastised for
relaxing too much when it gets comfortably ahead.
Vanderbilt, which won on the road at No. 14 Tennessee on
Wednesday, fell to 7-15 all-time against the No. 1 team. Nearly
half of those losses have come at Rupp Arena.
The Wildcats will likely fall from the top spot when the new
poll comes out Monday, but avoided a precipitous drop thanks to a
balanced attack behind Cousins.
Dodson knocked down four 3-pointers in just his second start of
the season, Eric Bledsoe added 13 points and seven rebounds and
Patrick Patterson had 12 points and four boards for the Wildcats.
Kentucky led 49-34 at the break, but the Commodores collected
themselves to keep things mildly interesting.
Vanderbilt's best chance to make a move came after Wall was
called for an offensive foul with Kentucky leading 76-64 with about
5 minutes to go. The Commodores executed perfectly, but forward
Jeffery Taylor missed a reverse dunk. Dodson came down and sank a
3-pointer to push Kentucky's advantage back to 79-64 with 3:57 to
go.
The shot seemed to finally put an end to the seemingly endless
parade to the free-throw line, as the whistles finally abated and
James showed his appreciation by standing up and applauding while
he made his way to the exits.

No. 1 KENTUCKY 85, No. 21 VANDERBILT 72
VANDERBILT (16-4)
Walker 4-5 2-2 10, Taylor 4-8 2-3 10, Ogilvy 2-4 8-12 12, Beal
6-14 3-3 19, Tinsley 3-6 2-2 8, Ezeli 0-2 0-2 0, Goulbourne 0-1 0-0
0, Smart 0-0 0-0 0, McClellan 0-0 0-0 0, Jenkins 2-5 5-6 10,
Tchiengang 1-1 1-1 3. Totals 22-46 23-31 72.
KENTUCKY (20-1)
Cousins 6-10 9-13 21, Patterson 4-7 1-1 12, Miller 0-1 0-0 0,
Dodson 5-10 2-2 16, Wall 4-12 3-4 13, Harris 0-1 0-0 0, Stevenson
0-0 0-0 0, Bledsoe 3-7 5-11 13, Orton 0-2 1-2 1, Liggins 2-4 4-6 9,
Harrellson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-54 25-39 85.
Halftime-Kentucky 49-34. 3-Point Goals-Vanderbilt 5-15 (Beal
4-8, Jenkins 1-3, Goulbourne 0-1, Taylor 0-1, Tinsley 0-2),
Kentucky 12-23 (Dodson 4-8, Patterson 3-4, Bledsoe 2-4, Wall 2-5,
Liggins 1-1, Miller 0-1). Fouled Out-Orton, Patterson, Tchiengang.
Rebounds-Vanderbilt 22 (Walker 7), Kentucky 41 (Cousins 10).
Assists-Vanderbilt 11 (Taylor, Tinsley 3), Kentucky 15 (Wall 9).
Total Fouls-Vanderbilt 29, Kentucky 28. Technicals-Vanderbilt
Bench, Cousins. A-24,339. s. The wareh

Team Records and Series Notes

• Kentucky is 20-1, 5-1 in the Southeastern Conference while Vanderbilt is 16-4, 5-1 in league action. This ends a 10-game win streak by the Commodores.
• Kentucky leads the series, 132-43, including 74-14 in Lexington.
• Kentucky has an all-time record of 154-24 while being ranked No. 1 in the nation in The Associated Press poll.
o UK is 11-4 vs. Vanderbilt when the Wildcats have been at No. 1.
o UK is 62-2 in games played at home.
o John Calipari’s teams have a 42-6 record while ranked No. 1.
• Kentucky returns to action on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at home vs. Ole Miss. The game will be televised by ESPN.

First-Half Notes

• Kentucky used the starting lineup of John Wall, Darnell Dodson, Darius Miller, Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins for the first time this season.
• It was Dodson’s first start since the season opener. He quickly extended UK’s streak of 732 consecutive games with a three-pointer with a triple at the 18:19 mark.
• Eric Bledsoe was UK’s first substitute. Bledsoe had started every game except the Hartford contest, which he missed because of injury.
• DeMarcus Cousins got off to a quick start with 13 points in the first nine minutes. Included were four baskets in which Cousins got fouled, three of which he turned into three-point plays. It is the third straight game, and the sixth this season, in which Cousins has reached double-figure scoring in the first half.
• Kentucky took the lead at 4-3 and extended it to as many as 19 points at 46-27.
• With foul trouble sidelining Cousins, Patterson, Miller, Wall and Orton, UK hung on to a 15-point lead at halftime, 49-34.

Second-Half Notes

• Kentucky extended the lead to 69-50, tying its largest of the game, on a DeAndre Liggins three-pointer at the 12:09 mark.
• Vanderbilt got a rally going at the 9:40 mark and scored 12 points in the next two minutes to pull within 73-62.
• Darnell Dodson hit three-pointers at 6:32 and 4:00 to keep the visitors at bay and the Commodores got no closer than 11 points in the second half.

(over)

Team Notes

• Kentucky made 12 three-point baskets, most this season against an SEC opponent. The Wildcats also shot 52.2 percent from long range, also the team’s best this season vs. an SEC foe.
• The Wildcats also did a good job getting to the free-throw line and made 25 of 39, season highs in both categories.
• Kentucky dominated the rebounding, 41-22, and second-chance points, 20-2.

Individual Notes

• DeMarcus Cousins had 21 points and 10 rebounds.
o It’s his 12th double-double of the season, breaking the UK freshman record of 11 set by Chris Mills in 1988-89.
o It’s his fourth-consecutive double-double, the second time this season he has achieved that accomplishment.
• Patrick Patterson had 12 points, breaking a two-game string below double figures.
o Patterson made a career-high three three-pointers.
• John Wall had 13 points and a game-high nine assists.
o Wall has 135 assists, breaking the UK freshman season record of 126 by Dirk Minniefield in 1979-80.
• Darnell Dodson had 16 points and seven rebounds, his most vs. an SEC opponent this season.
• DeAndre Liggins had nine points and four rebounds, season highs in both categories.
• Eric Bledsoe had 13 points and tied his career high with seven rebounds.


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