UK
VANDY

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No. 21 Kentucky Wildcats win 2nd straight, beats Vandy 74-67

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Kentucky coach John Calipari decided the time had to come to make his point to freshman Kevin Knox on attacking the basket - even at the risk of a loss.

The freshman showed Saturday he's listening.

Knox scored five straight points to put No. 21 Kentucky ahead to stay in a 74-67 victory over Vanderbilt.

With the score tied at 59, Knox hit a jumper with 3:48 left and hit the free throw that put Kentucky ahead for good. He added a layup on the next possession for the Wildcats (14-3, 4-1 Southeastern Conference). Wenyen Gabriel added a tip-in, and Hamadou Diallo knocked down a 3-pointer for a 10-2 run clinching the victory.

''He's been challenging me this whole season to be aggressive and to go to the basket,'' Knox said. ''I'm starting to get it now.''

Calipari said he told his bench during the game he would keep going back to Knox to help the freshman figure out what the coach is asking of him.

''It's not fair to Kevin Knox, the youngest freshman in the country to be put in that environment ... and have to make those plays and free throws,'' Calipari said. ''It's not fair to him, but that's how we do this.''

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led Kentucky with 22 points. Knox finished with 17 and Diallo and P.J. Washington each had 10.

Jeff Roberson led Vanderbilt (6-11, 1-4) with 20 points, and Saben Lee added 12.

Vanderbilt played most of the second half without senior guard Matthew Fisher-Davis because of an injured right shoulder.

But the Commodores pulled within 70-66 on a layup by Riley LaChance with 34.7 seconds left, and they forced Washington into a turnover. LaChance was fouled on a 3-point attempt, then the senior missed all three free throws despite being an 88.9 percent shooter at the line.

''Obviously it's not what he wanted, it's not what we wanted,'' Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew said. ''He's a great shooter. He's been a great shooter. Obviously we told him keep your confidence. We expect you to go out and make your next 30. You're that good a shooter.''

Kentucky never led by more than nine. The Commodores fought back and took their first lead since the opening minutes at 56-55 on a layup by Peyton Willis with 7:58 left. Joe Toye's three-point play with 5:01 to go tied it for the third time at 59.

Vanderbilt, which thrives off shooting the 3, hit 6 of 25 against Kentucky. They were only 1 of 11 in the first half, staying close by hitting nearly every free throw (12 of 13) until going cold late in the half. Kentucky led 36-27 thanks to a 9-2 spurt where Vanderbilt hit only one field goal after an alley-oop dunk by Lee with 6:11 left.

BIG PICTURE

Kentucky: With Quade Green out, Gilgeous-Alexander is showing why Calipari had such a hard decision about who to start at point guard. He played 39 minutes along with Diallo.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores have lost seven games this season by single digits, and three of their four SEC losses all have been by single digits. Roberson said, ''Being close is not good enough. Everyone is sick of it.'' ... Needing some size in the paint against Kentucky, Drew used 6-foot-10, 234-pound freshman Ejike Obinna for the first time in conference play. He played only 3 minutes, all in the first half, and got one rebound and one point. Drew said the freshman had been sick and lost weight but not enough to qualify for a medical redshirt.

KENTUCKY'S YOUTH

The young Wildcats are in the midst of playing four of five SEC games on the road, and they are being tested. ''I'm asking for the impossible,'' Calipari said. ''I'm playing a bunch of freshmen, and I'm asking them to go on the road in a hostile environment. Blackout night, shirt night, and let's win the game. It's going to be close. But you got to tough it out. That's my job to ask for the impossible.''

UP NEXT

Kentucky: Visits South Carolina on Tuesday night.

Vanderbilt: Visits Mississippi State on Tuesday night.

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Key Players
S. Gilgeous-Alexander
22 G
J. Roberson
11 F
32.1 Min. Per Game 32.1
14.8 Pts. Per Game 14.8
1.3 Ast. Per Game 1.3
7.8 Reb. Per Game 7.8
50.3 Field Goal % 46.1
47.6 Three Point % 41.9
82.4 Free Throw % 88.3
  Offensive rebound by Vanderbilt 0.0
  Riley LaChance missed 3-pt. jump shot 0.0
+ 1 Kevin Knox made 2nd of 2 free throws 3.0
+ 1 Kevin Knox made 1st of 2 free throws 3.0
  Personal foul on Saben Lee 3.0
  Defensive rebound by PJ Washington 8.0
  Saben Lee missed 2nd of 2 free throws 8.0
+ 1 Saben Lee made 1st of 2 free throws 8.0
  Personal foul on Hamidou Diallo 8.0
  Defensive rebound by Jeff Roberson 15.0
  Wenyen Gabriel missed 2nd of 2 free throws 15.0
Team Stats
Points 74 67
Field Goals 23-43 (53.5%) 21-55 (38.2%)
3-Pointers 3-10 (30.0%) 6-25 (24.0%)
Free Throws 25-37 (67.6%) 19-27 (70.4%)
Total Rebounds 35 31
Offensive 8 11
Defensive 25 18
Team 2 2
Assists 11 11
Steals 3 6
Blocks 7 4
Turnovers 11 6
Fouls 19 23
Technicals 0 0
22 PTS, 4 REB, 6 AST
20 PTS, 7 REB, 1 AST
12T
away team logo 21 Kentucky 14-3 363874
home team logo Vanderbilt 6-11 274067
Team Stats
away team logo 21 Kentucky 14-3 76.2 PPG 41.4 RPG 13.3 APG
home team logo Vanderbilt 6-11 72.3 PPG 37 RPG 12.0 APG
Key Players
22
S. Gilgeous-Alexander G 12.9 PPG 3.8 RPG 4.6 APG 47.5 FG%
11
J. Roberson F 16.7 PPG 7.1 RPG 1.5 APG 49.1 FG%
Top Scorers
S. Gilgeous-Alexander G 22 PTS 4 REB 6 AST
J. Roberson F 20 PTS 7 REB 1 AST
53.5 FG% 38.2
30.0 3PT FG% 24.0
67.6 FT% 70.4
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
S. Gilgeous-Alexander 39 22 4 6 0 0 3 3 7/11 1/1 7/10 0 4
K. Knox 28 17 4 1 1 0 1 2 5/9 0/2 7/7 1 3
H. Diallo 39 10 3 1 0 2 1 4 2/7 1/2 5/8 1 2
P. Washington 38 10 8 2 0 0 4 2 2/4 1/1 5/8 3 5
N. Richards 12 4 3 0 0 2 1 3 2/2 0/0 0/0 0 3
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
S. Gilgeous-Alexander 39 22 4 6 0 0 3 3 7/11 1/1 7/10 0 4
K. Knox 28 17 4 1 1 0 1 2 5/9 0/2 7/7 1 3
H. Diallo 39 10 3 1 0 2 1 4 2/7 1/2 5/8 1 2
P. Washington 38 10 8 2 0 0 4 2 2/4 1/1 5/8 3 5
N. Richards 12 4 3 0 0 2 1 3 2/2 0/0 0/0 0 3
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
W. Gabriel 29 7 9 1 1 2 1 2 3/8 0/4 1/4 2 7
S. Killeya-Jones 15 4 2 0 1 1 0 3 2/2 0/0 0/0 1 1
J. David - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Pulliam - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Wynyard - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B. Calipari - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Baker - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Q. Green - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Vanderbilt - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 200 74 33 11 3 7 11 19 23/43 3/10 25/37 8 25
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
J. Roberson 38 20 7 1 0 0 0 4 6/12 2/7 6/6 2 5
S. Lee 31 12 3 3 2 0 3 3 4/10 1/3 3/4 2 1
M. Fisher-Davis 16 9 3 0 1 0 0 2 2/6 0/3 5/5 1 2
R. LaChance 27 6 2 4 0 0 1 1 3/7 0/4 0/4 0 2
D. Baptiste 21 2 4 0 0 2 1 4 0/2 0/0 2/2 2 2
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
J. Roberson 38 20 7 1 0 0 0 4 6/12 2/7 6/6 2 5
S. Lee 31 12 3 3 2 0 3 3 4/10 1/3 3/4 2 1
M. Fisher-Davis 16 9 3 0 1 0 0 2 2/6 0/3 5/5 1 2
R. LaChance 27 6 2 4 0 0 1 1 3/7 0/4 0/4 0 2
D. Baptiste 21 2 4 0 0 2 1 4 0/2 0/0 2/2 2 2
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB
P. Willis 22 8 3 3 2 0 1 3 3/7 2/6 0/0 0 3
C. Brown 17 5 4 0 1 2 0 1 2/3 1/1 0/1 2 2
J. Toye 21 4 1 0 0 0 0 3 1/6 0/1 2/3 1 0
E. Obinna 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0/1 0/0 1/2 1 0
M. Evans 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 0/1 0/0 0/0 0 1
L. Austin Jr. - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I. Rice - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Y. Wetzell - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 200 67 29 11 6 4 6 23 21/55 6/25 19/27 11 18