Kentucky's Ashton Hagans (0) pulls in the ball near Vanderbilt's Saben Lee, left, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, Jan 29, 2020. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

No. 13 Kentucky Rallies to Beat Vanderbilt

No. 13 Kentucky was able to rally to take down Vanderbilt Wednesday night with a final score of 71-62 after a slow start in the first half.

Slow Start for the Wildcats

The end of the first half left the No. 13 ranked Wildcats trailing the unranked Commodores 35-28. The Wildcats struggled with shooting in the first half, making only 39% of their shots. Star forward Nick Richards also found himself in foul trouble in the first half. Richards only saw five minutes of playtime in the entire first half.

On the other hand, the struggling Vanderbilt team came out fast. The Commodores relinquished the lead for good with 8:33 remaining in the second half. Guard Saben Lee led the effort with 21 points, four assists and two rebounds. Forward Dylan Disu also put up an impressive 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Commodores.

Cats Bounce Back

In the second half, the Wildcats managed to improve their scoring percentage to 53%, finishing the game at 46%. Despite the early first-half foul trouble from Richards, he still put up top-numbers for Kentucky. Richards earned himself 15 points and 11 rebounds.

The only Wildcat to outscore Richards was guard Tyrese Maxey. Maxey scored 17 points with four rebounds and two assists. Maxey was one of the leaders of Kentucky’s comeback, scoring 10 of his 17 points in the second half. Kentucky finished just 30% on three-pointers and 84% from the free-throw line, managing to edge out the Commodores in the end.

Struggles for Vandy

With the loss on Wednesday night, the Commodores extend their SEC losing streak to 25 games. This is an SEC record for consecutive losses within the conference. Vanderbilt surpassed Sewanee who had 24 consecutive losses from 1938-1940 prior to leaving the conference.

Despite Vandy’s valiant effort in the first half of the game, they were not able to pull off the upset against No. 13 Kentucky. While the team came out strong in the second half with a three-pointer from Disu, they went on to miss their next five and their final eight attempts.

Vanderbilt finished the game 39% on field goals, 35% for three-pointers and 69% from the free-throw line. First-year coach Jerry Stackhouse remains positive about the young team’s future.

Vanderbilt will play next at home on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. against Florida. Kentucky will play at Auburn on Saturday at 6 p.m.

About Sara Kate Dyson

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