Vanderbilt faces #1 Kentucky Saturday
Jan. 29, 2010
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The Commodores pace all teams in the SEC with a 5-0 record in league play, Vanderbilt's best start in conference play since the 1965-66 season, after an 85-76 win over Tennessee Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena. Senior Jermaine Beal tied a single-game Vanderbilt high in 2009-10 with 25 points to lead the Commodores in the win. Four other VU players, A.J. Ogilvy (12), Jeffery Taylor (10), Brad Tinsley (10), and John Jenkins (10), also added double figures for the Commodores.
Vanderbilt trailed at the half, 35-31, for the fourth time in five SEC games, against Tennessee, but rallied for the come-from-behind win, VU's first win in Knoxville in four seasons. The Commodores' have had stellar second-half numbers in SEC play - Vanderbilt has a scoring margin of +10.8 and are shooting an astonishing 55.2% from the field in the five games. VU also has a rebounding margin of +6.6 in those five games, and a +0.8 turnover margin. Vanderbilt's only lead at the half came against South Carolina on January 16 when the Commodores led, 41-35, at the break.
The Tennessee game was no exception, as the Commodores converted on 56.7% of its shots from the floor in the second half (17-30), and 71.4% of its shots from three (5-7). Vanderbilt also made 15 of their 20 shots (.750) from the free throw line in the second half.
Taylor leads four Commodores averaging in double figures with 14.1 points per contest. Ogilvy is next at 13.8 points per game, senior guard Jermaine Beal averages 13.7 points per game, and freshman sharpshooter John Jenkins adds 10.8 points per contest.
Saturday's game with Kentucky is Vanderbilt's fourth road SEC contest of the season and its second against a ranked opponent this year.
Vanderbilt and Kentucky will meet for the 175th time in a series that began in the 1911-12 season. Kentucky owns a 131-43 advantage in the series, and own a 78-19 series lead in games played in Lexington. Vanderbilt's last win at Rupp Arena came in 2006-07, when the Commodores came away with a 72-67 win against the Wildcats.
Vanderbilt moved to 1-0 against ranked opponents in 2009-10 after knocking off Tennessee, 85-76, in Knoxville. Saturday's match up with Kentucky will be the first time since 2007 that VU has faced back-to-back ranked opponents. That year, Vanderbilt faced three straight - #10 Alabama at home (Jan. 17), and #25 Kentucky (Jan. 20) and #24 LSU (Jan. 24) on the road, and came away from the stretch 3-0. In 2006-07, VU played 10 ranked teams and was 7-3 against those ranked foes.
The Commodores are 80-199 and a 18-121 road record all-time against ranked opponents. Vanderbilt has won its last two road games against ranked opponents (at LSU, 3/409; at Tennessee, 1/27/10), and has a 25-45 record against ranked opponents in the Stallings' Era.
Vanderbilt has a 7-13 all-time record against teams ranked #1 in the Associated Press poll, but has an 0-7 record against number one teams away from Memorial Gym. The Commodores have faced Kentucky 13 times when the Wildcats were number one, and have a 4-9 record record against UK in those games. VU is 3-4 in games played at Memorial, 1-0 in neutral site games, and 0-5 in games played in Lexington. The last time Vanderbilt played a number one-ranked Kentucky team was March 2, 1996, in Lexington, a game the Wildcats won, 101-63,
Kentucky enters the game with a 19-1 overall record and a 4-1 mark in SEC play after dropping their first game of the year against South Carolina in their last time out in Columbia (68-62). The Wildcats are a perfect 12-0 at home overall and 2-0 in league games at Rupp Arena with wins over Georgia and Arkansas.
Freshman sensation John Wall leads the team in scoring with 17.1 points per game. Fellow freshman DeMarcus Cousins is next at 16.0 points per game, junior Patrick Patterson averages 15.4 per contest, and Eric Bledsoe adds 10.9 points per contest.
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