It was a thriller for most of the game, but the Kentucky Wildcats held off a determined Vanderbilt team by a score of 83-74 in Rupp Arena on Saturday. The win runs UK's record to 28-1 overall and 14-0 in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and, more importantly, clinches the SEC regular season championship.
In what has become a broken record (albeit the good kind!) Anthony Davis was an absolute beast in dominating the game on both ends of the court and, in many national opinions, possibly clinching the Player of the Year award. Davis scored 28 points on 10-of-11 shooting while pulling down 11 rebounds, six blocked shots and two steals while turning the ball over just once and committing just two fouls in 37 minutes of play. What is phenomenal, though, is even though Davis was nearly perfect from the floor, all of his made baskets weren't of the spectacular dunk variety we have all grown accustomed to this season. Davis hit several key shots as the shot clock was winding down, one of them just inside the three-point arc and a couple more in the 10-12 foot range.
Simply put, it was an amazing performance by a great player who continues to astound despite so many great performances this season. I'm a guy who likes to talk, and Anthony Davis has me running out of words to describe the impact he has had on this UK team and college basketball in general. As someone who has followed UK basketball for most of my 45 years, I can't remember a player as dominant on both ends of the floor and, although I was just four years old when he graduated, I think Davis is the most complete player to wear the UK uniform since Dan Issel. I believe Davis has clinched the Player of the Year award and will be shocked if he doesn't win it.
Marquis Teague also had a solid performance with 16 points and six assists. While he did turn the ball over 4 times, three of those were in the opening five minutes. Perhaps the most impressive part of Teague's performance is that after a rough start and a trip to the bench, he was able to collect himself and really play well the remainder of the game.
Terrence Jones added 12 points and 6 boards while Darius Miller and Doron Lamb had 9 points each with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist adding 8 points to go along with 8 rebounds.
All in all, it was a gritty performance on a day that not all went well and the Cats struggled to pull away. We saw what the rotation will likely look like in the latter stages of the NCAA as games get closer as UK played six guys with Lamb, Davis, and Teague all logging 37+ minutes and Miller playing 33 minutes with Jones and Kidd-Gilchrist limited to 23 and 29 minutes respectively due to foul trouble. Kentucky didn't play great, yet still found a way to beat a team with talent-Vanderbilt was picked in the top-10 preseason but has under performed this year.
Next up for Kentucky is Senior Night when the much improved Georgia Bulldogs come to Rupp Arena on Thursday night for a 9 p.m. tip off. Darius Miller and Eloy Vargus will be honored prior to the game in one of the most emotional scenes in all of college basketball as they hear My Old Kentucky Home for the final time in Rupp Arena.
Go Cats!go back