Kentucky basketball defeats Vanderbilt 56-47


Immanuel Quickley calling a play during University of Kentucky men’s basketball game against Vanderbilt University at Rupp Arena on Saturday, January 12, 2019, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff 

Kentucky’s second home SEC test wasn’t easy for the Cats, but they pulled away for the 56-47 win over the Vanderbilt Commodores, improving their record to 12-3.

Not uncommon to Rupp Arena and the Wildcats this season, Kentucky’s opponent came out strong from beyond the arc. After winning the tip, Vandy’s Aaron Nesmith drained a three to put the first points on the board. UK guard/forward Keldon Johnson responded with a jumper in the paint, but Commodore Joe Toye followed with Vandy’s second three point attempt, and made it. After a missed Reid Travis jumper, Vandy’s Matt Ryan made another shot from behind the three-point line, making his team 3-for-3 from the three with a 9-2 lead within the first four minutes of the game. 

Things wouldn’t get much better for the Cats within the next few minutes—the Commodores took a 12-point lead at the 15:12 mark. Two minutes later, Immanuel Quickley hit Kentucky’s first three-pointer of the game and the Cats had managed to cut Vandy’s lead to six. 

Quickley would come up big again with eight minutes left in the half, making another three-pointer, putting Kentucky within three points. Both of Quickley’s threes were the only two made by Kentucky in the first half. 

Kentucky went back to the locker room trailing the Commodores by two, but came back out and took control of the majority of the second half. With a pair of Keldon Johnson free throws and a three-pointer on the fast break, the Cats took a 33-30 lead– a lead they wouldn’t turn back from. 

The Cats went ahead by their largest margin of the game with just over six minutes to go when a Hagans layup pushed the team ahead by 11 points, shortly after another Quickley three-pointer. 

Hagans and Johnson tied and led Kentucky in scoring with 15 each, followed by Quickley, who totaled 12 points. Travis led his team in rebounds with 12, tying his season-high. 

Kentucky returns to the court on Tuesday on the road at Georgia at 7 p.m.

Correction: Travis was originally credited with 14 rebounds, but due to a statistical change after the game, it has been corrected to 12.