Quick recap: Vanderbilt defeats UK 71-64 to win SEC Championship

Key player: Jeffery Taylor showed up for the Commodores on their third go-around with the Cats. When he was needed, the senior came up with a huge shot. In the end, Taylor’s 18 points and 11 rebounds were too much for UK to overcome, giving Vanderbilt its first SEC title since 1951.

Turning point/key stretch: Vanderbilt outscored the Cats 16-2 in the final five minutes of the game. During that stretch the Cats missed its final 12 field-goal attempts. The Cats penetrated the Vandy zone and got multiple open looks, but could not finish. Vandy took a seven-point deficit and turned it around for a seven-point upset victory.

The good: Freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist gave up his starting spot to senior Darius Miller in hopes that it would help spark his performance on offense as UK prepares for the NCAA Tournament. If that was the hope, then it seemed to work. Miller was all over the floor, coming up with big steals and rebounds and leading the Cats in scoring. Miller scored 16 points, grabbed three rebounds and dished out four assists.

Stat of the game: The Cats struggled shooting behind the arc, hitting 6-for-28 from 3-point range. They also reacted to Vandy’s sagging defense by hoisting up a barrage of shots behind the arc. Twenty-eight of UK’s 64 total field-goal attempts were from long distance. When the Cats drove the ball into the paint, they were often successful. When they settled for shots from long distance, they often suffered.

What’s next: The Cats, who are still expected to claim the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, will wait on the selection show Sunday evening to see who they will likely open the NCAA Tournament with in Louisville. UK will return from New Orleans to watch the show from UK head coach John Calipari’s house in Lexington. The Kernel will have full coverage from the selection show later in the evening. The selection show starts at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on CBS.