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SportAnother slow start doesn't derail Kentucky in win vs. Vanderbilt

06:55  13 january  2019
06:55  13 january  2019 Source:   kentucky.com

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Gray skies. An accumulation of snow overnight followed by a cold rain. Duke winning on a last-second shot in the afternoon. A loss to Vanderbilt would have capped a gloomy Saturday for the Big Blue Nation.

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Jarred Vanderbilt is a 6'8" 5-star point-forward who will be taking his talents to the Kentucky Wildcats next year. He'll be teaming up with 4 other top ranked recruits to put together another historic recruiting class We started out in 2013 following high school stars like Thon Maker, Jaylen Brown

Despite a stumbling start that fit the day's depressing conditions, Kentucky righted itself and beat Vanderbilt, 56-47.

BOX SCORE: KENTUCKY 56, VANDERBILT 47

Maybe "outlasted" was a better verb. It wasn't easy. More than one UK player got knocked to the floor. Murmurs of concern erupted occasionally.

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Bottom line: Kentucky improved to 12-3 overall and 2-1 in the Southeastern Conference. Keldon Johnson and Ashton Hagans led UK with 15 points each. Hagans had three steals, giving him 22 in the last five games. Immanuel Quickley chipped in 12 points.

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Vanderbilt fell to 9-6 overall and 0-3 in the SEC. Aaron Nesmith led the Commodores with 11 points.

Kentucky trailed 30-28 at halftime. That marked only the second time UK entered the second half behind since the Duke avalanche (59-42) on opening night. The Cats also trailed UNC Greensboro 40-37 on Dec. 1.

On Friday, PJ Washington said the game would be a "big stepping stone" for Kentucky playing with seamless efficiency. "We've got to come out and play 40 minutes," he said. "That's the biggest thing we haven't done all season."

It was apparent almost immediately that Kentucky would slip off that stepping stone this night. Vandy made six of its first seven shots and zipped to a 16-4 advantage inside the first five minutes.

The Commodores made their fifth 3-pointer that the 11:23 mark. Vandy, which had struggled from 3-point range, was already within one of the six 3s (in 25 attempts) made in a loss at Georgia on Wednesday. (The Commodores made only two of their 19 3-point shots the rest of the way.)

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UK Coach John Calipari could not wait for the first television timeout to serve as a brake on Vanderbilt's peel out of the gate. He called time with 16:05. Twenty-eight seconds later, he replaced Reid Travis with Nick Richards. The latter changed the game.

For a second straight game, Richards gave UK a spark. He took a lob from Hagans and dunked. He took a charge. These plays helped generate fan enthusiasm.

Kentucky never led in the first half.

The first lead came as part of a 7-0 run to start the second half. Johnson did the honors with a three-pointer from the left corner, the same spot he missed from in the loss at Alabama seven days earlier.

His three put Kentucky ahead 33-30 with 18:45 left.

The lead grew to 45-39 on a Travis free throw with 9:01. But nothing was coming easy.

Richards put that on display. If the three-knockout rule was in effect, the game would have ended 10:50 left. That's when Richards got knocked down in a rebound situation. While sitting on the floor, he stretched out his arms in a what's-going-on gesture.

Earlier, Richards landed awkwardly after jumping for a fast-break lob. He clutched an ankle but did not appear injured.

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Vanderbilt (1-2), which will visit Western Kentucky (2-1) on Saturday, is coming off a blowout 38-7 loss to Currently, Vanderbilt has an SEC-worst two sacks and is also last in sack percentage at 1.8 percent. Georgia Tech only scored more than 30 points once in its previous 11 games vs . Power 5

Jarred Vanderbilt Is Another Talented Piece in Kentucky 's Loaded Class. Vanderbilt ’s addition doesn ’ t feel as important now as it did when he announced his commitment to Kentucky last December. At that point, the Wildcats had already assembled much of their standout class (point

Less than two minutes earlier than that, Vandy's Matthew Moyer inadvertently elbowed Richards in the face as they were on the floor scrambling for a loose ball.

Adding possible injury to this insult, Hagans went down with 5:05 left. He had scored on a driving layup, then stayed down and had to leave the game. As Hagans was face down on the court, a child yelled a plaintive, "C'mon, Hagans."

Meanwhile, Vanderbilt's struggles in the last eight minutes of games continued. The Commodores entered their dead zone down 45-42. Vandy scored only five points the rest of the way.

Visit the Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Ky.) at www.kentucky.com

Related slideshow: 2018-19 college basketball season (provided by USA Today Sports)

Another slow start doesn't derail Kentucky in win vs. Vanderbilt

No. 18 Kentucky fights back again to top Vanderbilt 56-47.
Kentucky believes it will figure out how to start games with the focus and resolve it has shown in closing them.Now would be fine by coach John Calipari after again watching his No. 18 Wildcats having to scrap past Vanderbilt.Ashton Hagans and Keldon Johnson each scored 15 points and combined to rally Kentucky from another slow start in a 56-47 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday night. BOX SCORE: NO. 18 KENTUCKY 56, VANDERBILT 47 "We've got to figure out how we start games, this is getting ridiculous," the coach said after the Wildcats (12-3, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) had to climb from a second consecutive double-digit hole in the early minutes.

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