Cats avoid upset, end 4-game Nashville skid, 58-56

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - John Wall sank a pair of free throws
with 20 seconds left and had a big blocked shot to send No. 2
Kentucky to a 58-56 win over No. 17 Vanderbilt on Saturday night.
Kentucky (26-1, 11-1 SEC), which beat Vanderbilt 85-72 on Jan.
30, grabbed a two-game lead over Vanderbilt in the SEC East and
dealt the Commodores (20-6, 9-3) their first home loss this season.
Wall's free throws gave the Wildcats a 57-53 lead, but John
Jenkins answered with a 3-pointer to pull Vanderbilt within a
Kentucky's Eric Bledsoe missed a pair of free throws, but Wall
responded by blocking a 3-pointer by Jenkins on the other end and
grabbing the ball.
He made one of two free throws for a two-point lead with 2.5
seconds to play, and the Commodores had one more chance.
A.J. Ogilvy caught a long in-bounds pass by Darshawn McClellan,
but his runner in the lane bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
The Wildcats relied on their power in the paint, but the
Commodores never let them get too comfortable. DeMarcus Cousins led
Kentucky with 19 points, while Patrick Patterson and Wall both
chipped in 13.
Jeffery Taylor scored 17 points for Vanderbilt, which was a
woeful 2 for 20 from 3-point range.
Festus Ezeli and Steve Tchiengang both fouled out with more than
5 minutes remaining trying to disrupt Cousins and Patterson inside.
Vanderbilt, the SEC's most prolific free-throw shooting team,
used free throws to keep up with the Wildcats, and a pair by Taylor
with 6:08 to go gave the Commodores a 49-45 lead, their largest of
the game.
The Commodores made a few costly mistakes on defense that gave
Kentucky some easy points. The Wildcats turned Vanderbilt's 15
turnovers into 19 points.
It was Kentucky's second close call in as many games after
pulling out an 81-75 overtime win at Mississippi State on Tuesday.

Cousins 6-11 7-9 19, Patterson 6-12 0-0 13, Miller 1-4 0-0 3,
Wall 3-11 6-10 13, Bledsoe 2-8 4-8 8, Dodson 0-2 0-0 0, Stevenson
0-0 0-0 0, Orton 0-1 0-3 0, Liggins 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 19-53 17-30
Walker 3-4 0-0 6, Taylor 4-10 9-12 17, Ogilvy 3-8 3-5 9, Beal
2-9 2-2 6, Tinsley 1-7 0-0 2, Ezeli 1-1 0-0 2, Goulbourne 0-4 2-2
2, McClellan 0-0 0-0 0, Jenkins 2-8 0-0 5, Tchiengang 2-5 2-4 7.
Totals 18-56 18-25 56.
Halftime-Kentucky 27-25. 3-Point Goals-Kentucky 3-16 (Miller
1-2, Patterson 1-3, Wall 1-4, Dodson 0-2, Bledsoe 0-2, Liggins
0-3), Vanderbilt 2-20 (Tchiengang 1-2, Jenkins 1-6, Walker 0-1,
Goulbourne 0-2, Tinsley 0-4, Beal 0-5). Fouled Out-Ezeli,
Tchiengang. Rebounds-Kentucky 36 (Patterson 13), Vanderbilt 40
(Tchiengang, Walker 8). Assists-Kentucky 9 (Bledsoe 3), Vanderbilt
7 (Beal, Tinsley 2). Total Fouls-Kentucky 20, Vanderbilt 27.
Technicals-Bledsoe, Taylor. A-14,316. ncluding bac

-- Kentucky improves to 26-1, 11-1 SEC on the season and takes a two game lead in the SEC overall standings. Vanderbilt falls to 20-6, 9-3.
-- UK is 133-43 against the Commodores and 52-26 against Vandy in Nashville.
-- Kentucky won in Memorial Gymnasium for the first time since the 2005 season.
-- Kentucky will be in action again Thursday, when they host South Carolina. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. with the game being televised on ESPN2.

Team game notes
-- The Wildcats used the starting combination of Eric Bledsoe, DeMarcus Cousins, Darius Miller, Patrick Patterson and John Wall for the 19th time this season. Kentucky is 18-1 with that starting five.
-- Daniel Orton was the first sub off the bench for Kentucky. It was Orton’s team leading 14th time this season to be the first Wildcat off the bench.
-- Kentucky extended its streak of game with a three-pointer to 738 games, the third longest streak in the country.
-- The Wildcats led 27-25 at the half. UK is 22-1, 10-1 SEC when leading or tied at the half this season.
-- The UK defense has yet to allow an opponent to shoot 50 percent from the field.
-- Kentucky shot its lowest percentage from the free throw at .533 (16-of-30).
-- The Wildcats were outrebounded for the first time since South Carolina (1/26).
-- Kentucky forced Vanderbilt into 15 turnovers and converted that into 19 points off turnover, outscoring the Commodores 19-8 in that category.
-- UK got the win despite shooting a season low .358.

Individual game notes
#1 Darius Miller
-- Made his first start since the Vanderbilt game in Lexington (1/30).
-- After going three straight games without a three-pointer, has connected on a trey in two straight games.
#11 John Wall
-- Moved to fourth on UK’s all-time freshman scoring list with 424 points.
-- Has hit a three-pointer in three of his last four games.
-- Has hit 28-of-39 free throws over last four games.

#15 DeMarcus Cousins
-- Moved to fifth on UK’s all-time freshman scoring list with 417 points.
-- Scored in double-digits in the first half for the ninth time this season.
-- Has scored in double-figures in 18 of his last 19 games
#54 Patrick Patterson
-- Moved to 20th on UK’s all-time scoring list with 1,419 points.
-- Recorded his second straight double-double and his eighth this season. It was his 29th career double-double moving him to a tie for seventh on UK’s all-time double-double list.
-- Has hit a three-pointer in seven straight games.
-- Finished with 13 rebounds and is averaging 10 rebounds in last three games.

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  • by Jon-Michael Britain Location: Radcliff on Feb 22, 2010 at 06:15 PM
    This is to "MJ", Coach Call starts three "Freshmen". There are going to be close games and the SEC is NO pushover. These version of Wildcats are special and we in the Big Blue Nation haven't had this kind of attention in years....
  • by kygirl Location: virginia on Feb 22, 2010 at 12:54 PM
    I, too, have been on the edge of my seat during these last few SEC games. True, we cannot play like this and expect to win the BIG games. Hopefully, we will pull it all together and be playing at our peak come March Madness time! For now, I am thankful for EVERY win and hope we keep on rollin'. You have to sure has been exciting!!!!
  • by Amanda Location: Whitesburg on Feb 22, 2010 at 05:06 AM
    I have to agree with MJ. I do love out cats, but even though they won against Vandy and do have a very impressive record, they are still a young team that needs improvement. We have played sloppy in quiet a few games and just managed to pull off the win. I love this team and coach and want them to win it all, but guys, lets clean it up a bit and tie up those loose ends.
  • by suzzie on Feb 21, 2010 at 10:28 PM
    KY has a great team but they have lotsto work on before the big dance.Coach pls get COUSINS under cotrol he is going to mess up his future in th NBA because of his attitude that would be a SHAME .John Wall has it going on his attitude is calm he is worth watching. Go Cats
  • by Peggy Location: Nicholasville on Feb 21, 2010 at 04:03 PM
    I am so proud of these Cats for going into such a hostile environment and pulling out a win. It has been such an exciting season. I usually have a favorite by now, but this year I think they're all special. "Go Cats"
  • by Jon-Michael Britain Location: Radcliff, KY on Feb 21, 2010 at 10:23 AM
    Finally!! Kentucky is back in the spotlight where is deserves to be... It's simply amazing what the right coach with the right recruited players can do. This is not "Notre Dame Football". The Kentucky Wildcats will be, "The Best There Is, The Best There Was, and The Best There Ever Will Be..." [Bret'Hitman' Hart]... Anything less is Unacceptable...
  • by MJ Location: Berea on Feb 21, 2010 at 08:30 AM
    Why does Ky not play like a #2 ranked team? I love my Wildcats but they will never make it to the final four unless they show improvement. I cannot see where they are any better than they were the first game of the season.
  • by rachel Location: harlan co on Feb 21, 2010 at 06:28 AM
    i think uk is the best team in the usa
  • by J.D. Farmer Location: Winchester on Feb 21, 2010 at 05:54 AM
    What a game!You guys rock!If you can win there,you can win anywhere.I am so proud of this team and coach.Maybe 2 more banners at rupp arena this year.
  • by david Location: somerset on Feb 21, 2010 at 04:33 AM
    GREAT GAME, GREAT GAME, AND OH GREAT GAME. I had a number of strokes, few nervous breakdowns, and couple of heart attacks, but I loved every moment of it. That's the kind of games I love, as long as the CATS win.
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