Cleaning the Glass: Kentucky

Jan. 13, 2018

By Zac Ellis

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Against Kentucky, it was déjà vu all over again for Vanderbilt.

The Commodores again found themselves in a tight game on their home floor on Saturday. They rallied to take a lead with under eight minutes to play, but the visiting Wildcats instead made plays late and escaped with a 74-67 win at Memorial Gym.

Here's how it went down:

THE SKINNY: Kentucky led by as many as nine points in the first half behind an 11-22 start from the field. Vanderbilt cut that lead to two points on several occasions late in the half, but the Wildcats scored the final six points to lead 36-27 at the break. (The Commodores hit just 7-27 field goals in the first 20 minutes.) In the second half, a Payton Willis driving layup with 7:58 left gave Vanderbilt a 56-55 advantage. But a 9-2 run capped by a Hamidou Diallo 3-pointer silenced the Commodores' momentum and secured a lead Kentucky wouldn't relinquish.

TURNING POINT: With less than 40 seconds left, Willis grabbed a steal and dished to Riley LaChance for a 3-pointer. Kentucky fouled LaChance on the attempt and sent him to the line for three shots with the Dores trailing 70-66. But LaChance, an 89-percent free-throw shooter this season, missed all three attempts. Kentucky then hit two of their own free throws to seal the win on the ensuing possession.

IMPACT PLAYER: Vanderbilt's Jeff Roberson. The steady senior scored just six points in the first half but came alive after the break, scoring 14, including a pair of 3-pointers. Roberson also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds and helped keep the Commodores in the game late.

STARTLING STAT: 89 - LaChance's free-throw percentage this season. The senior guard is normally reliable from the line, but he missed all four of his attempts at the charity stripe against Kentucky. That includes the three misses with 30 seconds to play.

WHAT IT MEANS: Vanderbilt misses a shot at a springboard victory and falls to 1-4 in SEC play. Kentucky moves to 4-1 in the league.

WHAT'S NEXT: Vanderbilt travels to Mississippi State on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. CT tipoff on SEC Network.

Zac Ellis is the Writer and Digital Media Editor for Vanderbilt Athletics.


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