- Saturday, January 3 1998 -
Vanderbilt - 62 (Head Coach: Jan Van Breda Kolff) - [Unranked]
Kentucky - 71 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 6th by AP]
Halftime Score: Vanderbilt 31, Kentucky 25
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Ohio 95 - 58|||||Georgia 90 - 79|
Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 7 No. 18. (All Rights Reserved)
After a slow start, Kentucky came from behind in Rupp Arena to maintain their perfect record in that facility over Vanderbilt, by a 71-62 margin. Kentucky was ranked #6 by AP for this game.
Kentucky picked up where it left off against Louisville, starting lethargically and tentative. While Mohammed hit a FT to start the scoring for UK, Vandy quickly pulled out to a 4-1 lead on a DiSpaltro layup and Ford dunk. Mohammed scored the Cats' 1st 5 pts to make it 5-5, and Kentucky even went up 8-5 after a Sheppard 3, but Vanderbilt hung tough and tied the score at 12-12 following a highly arching Bates FG. Padgett put the Cats up 14-12 on a putback, but Vandy again tied the score after a Langhi layup. Strong finally made a layup to give the Commodores the lead for the rest of the half. A LaPointe 3 made it 21-16 Vandy, then Mohammed had a putback and Strong hit a 3 to make it 24-18 Commodores. Sheppard made a 3, but Cugini's putback made it 26-21 VU. Prater added a layup to make it 28-21, but then Mohammed hit a pair of FTs. Maddux hit a 3 to again give the Commodores an 8 pt edge, but Turner made a 14 footer to close it to 31-25 Vanderbilt, which was the score at the half. UK had 10 1st half turnovers (to Vandy's 8) by halftime.
Edwards put back his own miss to start 2nd half scoring, and Padgett also had a putback to make it 31-29 Vandy. Minutes later Padgett hit a 3 to give UK its 1st lead in a while at 34-33. Sheppard made a knifing move to the hoop to put UK up 36-33. Later a Smith 3 made it 39-35 UK, but Vandy stayed close, cutting it to 41-40 after a Maddux 3. At this pt, UK scored the next 10 pts, thanks to an Evans putback, a Sheppard dunk on a drive, an Edwards to Padgett to Turner pass for a FG, an Edwards pass to Magloire for a dunk, and finally a Smith driving shot, making the score 51-40 UK. Strong made an old-fashioned 3 pt play, but Evans had a putback to make it 53-43. Minutes later an Edwards pass to Mohammed inside gave the Cats a 12 pt lead. A Maddux 3 reduced this, but Turner drove in for a FG to make it 59-48. With 5 minutes remaining, Sheppard again gave Kentucky a 12 pt lead at 62-50 (the largest for the day for the Cats), but Vandy quickly cut this to 62-55 following a Ford 3 and a Prater driving shot, to make the game uncomfortably close. The Cats appeared a bit frantic in the final minutes, but they did at least have the presence of mind to milk the clock somewhat (with Sheppard hitting a very long 3 as the shot clock expired, making the score 65-55). Late in the game, Maddux was fouled while attempting a 3, and made all his FTs, closing the gap to 69-62. Padgett made a couple of FT tosses to provide the final margin of 71-62. Vanderbilt missed a 3, and UK ran out the clock to preserve the win. Vanderbilt has still not beaten Kentucky in Rupp Arena since the facility was opened for the 1976-77 season.
UK had a rare double-double in this contest, with Nazr Mohammed scoring 19 pts and pulling down 11 rebounds, and Scott Padgett scored 13 while grabbing 14 boards.