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CATS Hold the Dores

E.J. Montgomery - Photo by Brendon D. Miller - Bluegrass Sports Nation

Kentucky improves to 16-4 on the season, while the Commodores fall to 8-12.

LEXINGTON – January 29, 2020 – Bradley Charles – Bluegrass Sports Nation

On Wednesday night, the Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores inside Rupp Arena. Kentucky entered the game off a big-time 76-74 overtime victory on the road against No. 18 Texas Tech. Despite the Commodores being unranked with an 8-11 record entering the game, it was a tightly contested matchup.

In many respects, that should come as no surprise. After all, as Coach Cal references all the time, teams give it their best effort when they face the Cats. At Kentucky, you’ll get the opposition at their best. The Commodores did that tonight, but still fell short.

In the First Half…

Kentucky jumped out to a 13-8 lead with 14:52 to play in the first half. A layup from Saben Lee with 9:19 remaining gave the Commodores their first lead of the game, 17-16. From there, Vanderbilt had the lead for the majority of the half and owned a 35-28 lead at halftime.

In the Second Half…

The Commodores stretched their lead to 10 points with 18:20 to play in the game. Kentucky battled back and a basket from E.J. Montgomery gave the Cats a 51-50 lead with 9:31 remaining. Vanderbilt responded with a layup from Saben Lee to regain the lead. On the ensuing possession, the Cats answered back with two free-throws from Quickley to give UK a 53-52 lead with 8:33 remaining in the game. From there, the Cats never surrendered the lead and cruised to a 71-62 victory.

Player Notes:

Tyrese Maxey had another productive night. led the Cats in scoring with 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the floor, 2-of-3 shooting from 3-point range, and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line. Maxey played the second-most minutes (35) of any Wildcat; Immanuel Quickley tallied 36 minutes of play.

Nick Richards continued to impress. Richards recorded his ninth double-double of the season as he recorded 15 points and 11 rebounds in just 22 minutes of play which is very impressive.

While his stat-line won’t jump off the page, E.J. Montgomery made big-time plays tonight when UK needed him to the most. Montgomery finished the game with nine points on 4-of-5 shooting from the floor in 26 minutes of play.

Ashton Hagans put forth another impressive night. Hagans tallied 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the floor to go along with four rebounds, six rebounds, and two steals. Entering tonight’s matchup, Hagans was averaging 7.3 assists per game which ranked first in the SEC and sixth in the country.

With the Victory…

The Cats are 158-5 vs. unranked teams in Rupp Arena under John Calipari.

Calipari’s all-time record against the Commodores is now 18-4.

The Cats are 12-3 this season in games following a win.

Kentucky won their first game of the season which was played on a Wednesday. Entering the game, the Cats were 0-2 on the season in games played on a Wednesday.

UK is 2-3 when trailing at halftime this season.

What’s Next:

Kentucky’s next game is on Feb. 1 in a road game against Auburn. The game will start at 6:00 p.m. and will air on ESPN.

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