- Saturday, February 19 1994 -
Kentucky - 77 (Head Coach: Rick Pitino) - [Ranked 11th by AP]
Vanderbilt - 69 (Head Coach: Jan Van Breda Kolff) - [Unranked]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 37, Vanderbilt 27
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Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 3 No. 25. (All Rights Reserved)
Cats Clobber a Cluster of Cantankerous Commodores:
UK led almost from beginning to end (trailing only once at 11-10) as they defeated Vanderbilt 77-69 in Memorial Gymnasium last Saturday. This was only Coach Rick Pitino's second win (in 5 tries) at Vanderbilt.
The Cats appeared a little shaky at the start, as there were 4 misses on an offensive possession before a dunk by Rhodes secured Kentucky's first points, but the team rebounded well to keep the ball alive for this. Vandy played very tight defense, with particular attention given to Travis Ford by Billy McCaffrey (who perhaps had read Nolan Richardson's comments about "cutting off the head so that the body dies."). Andre Riddick got the ball down low early but missed his hook shots (poor Andre finished with 0 points on 0-5 field goal shooting for the game). McCarty, however, continued his 3 point shooting from the LSU game to put UK ahead by 7-2. Vandy clawed right back on shots by Hall to come within 7-6.
Ford dribbled the ball off his foot coming downcourt, and Vandy took it and Evans hit a 3 for their only lead of the day at 11-10. But shots by Prickett and a followup of a missed Riddick free throw by Brassow put the Cats on top to stay at 14-11. Kentucky's pressure bothered the Commodores a bit - Vandy had more than its fair share of turnovers. This must have been infectious, however - UK had many as well. Rhodes thought about shooting a 3, changed his mind, and forgot to dribble. Prickett, after grabbing a rebound, decided to dribble the ball up court instead of passing off to a guard, and of course he traveled. Then a Brassow 3 pointer connected, putting UK up by 17-11.
Kentucky thereupon went on an outside shooting binge, once again forsaking any attempt at an inside game. Fortunately, their aim was decent as Delk connected, then Ford. A 15-2 run by the Cats was underway after Martinez stole the ball, passed off to Delk for a 2 pointer, and the 'Dores called a timeout. After this sequence, Ford walked and got away with it, but right afterwards, Brassow walked and was caught. Ford and McCaffrey exchanged baskets, then Vandy made a little run of its own to close to within 27-19.
McCaffrey missed a FT after being fouled by Brassow, and Kentucky surged to go up 31-19. Vandy got a 4 point play when McCaffrey hit a 3 as he was fouled by Rhodes. Tight defense by the Commodores next forced a UK shot clock violation. Martinez later hit McCarty with a beautiful pass, and Travis had one of his patented driving layups amidst the tall timber inside. Kentucky closed out the half with a Rhodes driving shot, and it was 37-27 at intermission. UK had hit on 54% of its field goals, to 40% for Vandy. The Cats hit 5 of 13 3 pointers, compared to 2 of 7 for Vanderbilt.
Baskets were traded to start the second half until Riddick missed another inside shot. At this point, Pitino substituted Prickett, Brassow, and Harrison into the game at once. Travis hit another 3 pointer, but then got somewhat out of control as he walked, then on the next possession, charged into Frank Seckar. Kentucky's defense became quite tight at this point, which was fortunate as it lost its shooting touch briefly. Prickett hit a shot underneath, but Brassow, Epps, and Ford all missed as Vandy cut the lead to 44-37 with nearly 12 minutes left. McCarty got an old fashioned 3 point play to put UK up 47-37, then a Ford old fashioned 3 allowed the Cats to match their largest lead of the day at 50-37.
Rhodes was switched to cover McCaffrey for much of the second half, and he did a reasonable number on the Commodore's leading scorer. McMahan, Vandy's second leading scorer, was nearly shut down. UK committed many fouls, however, during the second half, so that Vandy stayed in the game by hitting its free throws. A Rhodes reverse move under the basket put UK up 57-45, whereupon McMahan hit his first points of the day (free throws) with only about 7 minutes left.
Brassow was the first Cat to foul out after bumping McMahan. McMahan had been a little groggy, so he went to the bench and Beth hit his free throws to close to within 59-51. Prickett, fouled on the next possession by Milburn, missed 2 FTs (airballing the second one), to start 0-4 from the free throw line with about 5.5 minutes left in the contest.
Rhodes fouled out against McCaffrey after Bill hit his shot and Ford then lost the ball, causing Pitino to call a time out. Vandy was within 6 at 59-53. Baskets were swapped on both sides, then Lawson pushed Jeff Sheppard who proceeded to miss his 2 FTs with 4 minutes remaining. Vandy couldn't do anything on its next possession, and Delk was then fouled after UK got the ball. He hit one of two free throws.
Vandy went down, missed its shot, and Prickett got the rebound, fouled by Hall as he did so. As the Wildcats walked down the floor to shoot free throws, Martinez walked to the line to take the free throws instead of Prickett (who had not hit one all night). Dan Hall questioned the refs about this, and they conferred, but they then agree than Martinez should be shooting. [JNB note - I've checked the videotape a dozen times, and there is no question that Jared Prickett was fouled. Martinez was under the basket, but no one made any contact with him during this play.] Gimel only hit 1 of the 2, to put the Cats up 63-55 with 2.5 minutes remaining. Later, a Ford 3 put the game out of reach at 66-55. The game then became a fouling contest, with Vandy doing it deliberately to try to get back into the game, and Kentucky doing it accidentally (Pitino could be clearly heard in the background, yelling at his team to play defense and not foul). Delk fouled McCaffrey, then McCaffrey fouled Ford, then Delk fouled out against McCaffrey, then McMahan fouled Sheppard before McCaffrey finally hit a field goal on a possession. Seckar fouled Ford (not much of a foul, but it was called), then McMahan hit a 3 point shot for his only field goal of the game.
Beth hit two FTs when fouled by Harrison, to close to within 74-64, whereupon a huge cheer of "Go Big Blue" rose from the Wildcat fans in attendance. This was immediately suppressed by a large chorus of boos from the Vanderbilt faithful. Ford fouled out (against Beth) shortly afterwards, and he left the floor to a surprisingly loud number of boos from the fans [JNB note - I didn't understand this at the time, but perhaps they realized that Ford had orchestrated the free throw switches.] Beth, who had not missed a FT during the entire season, finally missed one. Beth hit a very long 3 with about 11 seconds remaining in the game to produce the final margin at 77-69.
Anthony Epps challenged Frank Seckar