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The Cats held off Texas A&M on Tuesday night in Rupp Arena by 1 point, 74-73. Now the Cats return to the road with another 2 game road swing, this time in Nashville to face Vanderbilt and then in Columbia, South Carolina to face the Gamecocks.
VANDERBILT has started this season with a 6-10 record and an ANE of 0.084 ppp (#90) after having played a schedule strength of 0.073 ppp (#10).
The Cats remain ranked #38 with an ANE of 0.183 ppp after having played a schedule with a schedule strength of 0.068 ppp (#14). The ANE analysis has the Cats favored by 3 point2, 74-71 in a game played at a pace of 71 possessions. Pomeroy has the Cats favored by 5, 74-69 with a pace of 67 possessions.
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Coach Calipari will start Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Nick Richards, Kevin Knox, PJ Washington, and Hamidou Diallo. Wenyen Gabriel and Sacha Killeya-Jones will provide the primary bench help even though Jarred Vanderbilt may be available for action for the first time this season. Jamalr Baker, Quade Green and Tai Wynyard are unavailable for this game.
The Cats control the opening tip and fails to score. Vandy gets on the score board first, and move on top 6-2 before the Cats get even at 6-6 at the under 16 media timeout. The Cats continue their 4-0 run that ended the opening segment with 7 more points to go on top 13-6 forcing a Vandy timeout with 12:43 remaining in the first half. Over the balance of the second segment, the Cats maintained a 6 point lead, 17-11 at the under 12 media timeout with 10:46 remaining in the first half, and Vandy set for a pair of free throws after the timeout.
In the third segment, the teams traded scores and the Cats maintained their 6 point lead, 22-16 at the under 8 media timeout. As before, Vandy will have a pair of free throws after the timeout. In the 4 th segment, Vandy trimmed the Cats' lead to 2 points 27-25 at the under 4 media timeout, and Hamidou Diallo will have 1+1 from the line after the break. Over the last 4 minutes, the Cats outscored the Commodores 12-2 to lead by 9, 36-27 at the half.
The Cats scored 36 points on 32 possessions, 1.125 points per possession, and VANDERBILT managed their 27 points on 31 possessions, 0.871 ppp. The Cats made 50.0% (11-22) of their first half shots, including 2-6 from outside the arc. VANDERBILT managed to make 25.9% (7-27) of their first half shots, including 1-11 from outside the arc.
The Cats committed 6 turnovers in the first half while VANDERBILT committed 6 turnovers.
The Cats made 12-18 from the line (66.7%) and VANDERBILT made 12-13 from the line (92.3%).
On the Boards, the Commodores and the Cats each grabbed 18 total rebounds, but Vandy won the offensive rebounding battle 7-5. However, the Cats converted its 5 second chance possessions into 4 points and VANDERBILT used its 7 second chance possessions to score 3 points. The Cats secured 31.3% of their misses and allowed VANDERBILT to grab 36.8% of their misses as second chance opportunities.
Vanderbilt opens the second half with back to back baskets and a pair of free throws, but the Cats match each score until Vandy makes its second 3 pointer of the game, and the Cats only get 1 of 2 free throws. At the under 16 media timeout, the Cats lead by 7, 45-38 and have possession of the basketball. In the second segment, Vandy trimmed the UK lead to only 2 points, 50-48, but Wenyen Gabriel makes a pull up shot under pressure and Kevin Knox gets a layup following a steal to lift the Cats back on top by 6 points. Vandy takes a timeout with 11:45 remaining. After the timeout, Vandy made their 3 rd 3 pointer of the segment, their 4 in 5 tries this half, to cut the lead back to 3 points. Another Kentucky turnover sent the game to the under 12 media timeout with 11:07 remaining and the Cats ahead by 3, 54-51 and Vanderbilt in possession of the ball.
On the first possession of the third segment, Vandy gets to the line again, making both, which makes them 16-17 for the game, and trimming the lead to 1 point. In the third segment, Vandy battled back into the lead, 56-55, their first lead since they led 6-4 early in the game. However, Wenyen Gabriel makes a basket to lift the Cats back on top by 1, 57-56, at the under 8 media timeout with 6:19 remaining and Kentucky in possession.
After the timeout, the Cats turn the ball over to Vandy, giving them another opportunity to regain the lead, but miss the layup. The Cats score a pair of free throws to go on top by 3 points, 59-56, but Vandy answers with a 3 point play to tie the score. Kevin Knox makes a basket and is fouled at the under 4 media timeout to give the Cats a fragile 2 point lead, 61-59, and Kevin Knox will have his free throw to complete the play after the under 4 media timeout with 3:48 remaining.
Kevin Knox makes his free throw and the Cats head into the final 3 ½ minutes with a fragile 3 point lead. After Vandy misses a 3 point attempt late in the shot clock, Kevin Knox gets loose under the basket for a layup to give the Cats a 5 point lead, 64-59, with 3:00 left. Vandy takes a timeout. After the timeout, Vandy misses, and the Cats score to move up by 7, 66-59. After a Vandy basket, Hamidou Diallo makes a 3 pointer from the left corner. However, Vandy answers with another 3 pointer to trim the 8 point lead back to 5, 69-64. Vandy burns their last timeout with 55 seconds.
After the timeout, Vandy fouls Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and he goes to the line making 1 of 2. Vandy makes a basket, cutting the lead to 4 points, and Kentucky turns the ball over on the inbound play, and then fouls a 3 point shooter with 30.6 seconds left.
The Vandy shooter missed all 3 free throws, and after the Kentucky rebound, Vandy fouled Kevin Knox. Cats win 74-67.
UK scored its 74 points on 63 possessions (1.175 ppp) for the game, and VANDERBILT scored its 67 points on 63 possessions (1.063 ppp).
Kentucky won the battle of the boards, with a rebounding edge 35-30, but VANDERBILT controlled the offensive glass 12-9. Kentucky used its 9 second chance possessions to score 9 second chance points, and VANDERBILT used its 12 second chance possessions to score 5 second chance points. VANDERBILT had an offensive efficiency of 0.984 ppp on its 63 first chance possessions and 0.417 ppp for its 12 second chance possessions. UK had 1.032 ppp on its 63 first chance possessions and 1.000 ppp on its 9 second chance possessions. With respect to the offensive rebounding, UK grabbed 33.3% of its misses as offensive rebounds while VANDERBILT was able to convert 31.6% of its misses into bonus possessions with offensive rebounds.
UK hit poorly from the free throw line in this game, making 25-37 [67.6%]. VANDERBILT made 19-27 [70.4%] for the game. Field goal shooting for UK was 23-43 overall [53.5%] and 3-10 from long range [30.0%]. For VANDERBILT, their field goal shooting from inside the arc was a strong 15-30 [50.0%] and from long range, VANDERBILT hit 6-25 [24.0%].
The Cats committed 11 turnovers, one for every 5.7 possessions. The Cats forced 7 VANDERBILT turnovers, one for every 9.0 possessions.
Next Game On Schedule: Tuesday night against South Carolina in Columbia a 9 pm for the eighteenth regular season game and sixth SEC game of the 2017-18 season.
Submitted by Richard Cheeks
Submitted by Richard Cheeks