- Saturday, February 17 2001 -
Kentucky - 79 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 22nd by AP]
|J. P. Blevins||16||1||3||1||3||2||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||5|
Vanderbilt - 74 (Head Coach: Kevin Stallings) - [Unranked]
|Scott Hundley (*)||10||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||0||2||1||0||0||0|
Halftime Score: Kentucky 45, Vanderbilt 29
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Tennessee 103 - 95|||||Louisiana State 84 - 61|
Game Writeup - Written by and courtesy of Jeff Drummond; Kentucky Sports Report, (All Rights Reserved)
Prince rescues Cats
NASHVILLE, Tenn. --- Another scorching performance by Tayshaun Prince helped Kentucky overcome a blazing comeback by Vanderbilt on Saturday at Memorial Gym.
Prince scored 13 of his game-high 27 points in the final 5:20 as the No. 22 Wildcats, who had seen Vanderbilt wipe away a 19-point deficit, held on for a 79-74 victory.
After Vanderbilt took a 62-60 lead with 6:16 to play, Prince worked his magic in almost every imaginable form. He buried a pair of 3-pointers from deep in the right corner to help put the Cats back on top, sank two free throws, cashed in a putback, and converted a three-point play on a jump hook with 1:01 remaining to give his team a five-point advantage that held up at the final buzzer.
"At that point in time, the shots weren't falling for me, but the confidence was still there," Prince said. "That's why I got the ball off real fast and was able to knock them down."
"It was a gutsy performance," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said of Prince, who opened the game cold from the field and missed his first six attempts from long range. "He showed a lot of courage not to succumb to that... That was just clutch. He's got icewater in his veins."
It was another day at the office for Prince, who scored 30 points in Wednesday's victory at Tennessee and has topped 23 in four of his last six games. The junior forward finished 7-for-18 from the field, 11-of-12 at the line and also contributed nine rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots.
Kentucky (17-7, 10-2 SEC) also got a big effort from sophomore center Marvin Stone off the bench with 11 points and seven rebounds. Keith Bogans was also in double figures with 10 points.
Vanderbilt (15-10, 4-8 SEC) lost its third consecutive game for the first time under second-year coach Kevin Stallings. The loss further damages the fading NCAA hopes of the Commodores, who needed a marquee victory over Kentucky.
It also marked the Cats' 17th straight victory over Vanderbilt, but didn't come as routinely as expected.
"It was two different halves for sure," Smith said. "It was a tough game to play, and it got a little ticky-tacky there with some of the calls, but we hung in there and did what we needed to do to pull the game out.... It looked like they stayed on the free throw line for a period of time. That was my take on it.
"Everywhere you play, especially on the road, you have to be aware that the crowd can get the home team back in the game with their energy and enthusiasm, and that's what happened today."
Kentucky twice saw large leads evaporated by the Commodores. After sprinting to a 25-13 lead in the first half, Kentucky suddenly went cold from the field and suffered through a 4:28 second drought. That allowed Vandy to claw back with a 12-0 run, highlighted by six points from junior guard Chuck Moore.
The Cats responded, though, after a timeout and closed the half with a 20-4 run that seemingly had the Commodores on the ropes. An inside basket by Marquis Estill just before the halftime buzzer sent UK into the locker room with a 45-29 advantage.
Vanderbilt hit just eight of 28 shots (29 percent) in the first half, while Kentucky carved up the Commodores' man-to-man defense for 50 percent shooting.
But that all changed in the second half as Stallings threw the Cats a curveball by switching to a 1-2-2 zone defense. Unable to get the ball inside to its post players, Kentucky went through another scoring drought. This time, the Cats went 2-for-11 from the field and turned the ball over seven times as Vanderbilt stormed back with a 18-0 run to tie the game at 50 with 10:18 left. Moore and Matt Freije each had five points in the run to spark the Commodores.
"That 1-2-2 gave us a lot of problems," Smith said. "We got tentative and started standing around... Obviously, we've got to go back and work on our zone offense."
"They got us frustrated with that zone a little bit," Prince said. "That got them back in the game. That was a good move because we were getting some really looks against man-to-man."
Kentucky responded with consecutive 3-pointers by Gerald Fitch and Saul Smith to regain the lead, and Prince took control down the stretch.
Moore led the Commodores with 16 points. Freije and Billy Richmond each tallied 13 while Brendan Plavich added 12. Vanderbilt finished 24 of 62 from the field (39 percent) and nine of 27 from long range.
Kentucky returns to action Wednesday at home against LSU.
Chuck Moore scores on Jason Parker