Vandy crushes UK in its worst loss since 1989

After suffering its first loss of the season to UK earlier in the year, No. 24 Vanderbilt returned the favor in record fashion last night.

The Commodores blitzed the Cats right from the start, crushing UK 93-52, while handing the Cats their worst defeat since 1989. The margin of victory was also the largest in the series’ history.

As dominating as Vandy was, UK was equally as bad, putting together its worst scoring half in the shot clock era. The Cats shot 20 percent from the field and scored just 11 points in the first half. The rest of the game hardly seemed to matter as the ‘Dores cruised to a 41-11 halftime lead.

Vandy’s Ross Neltner, a Fort Thomas, Ky., native, outscored UK 13-11 in the first half and finished with 15 points. ‘Dores’ guard Shan Foster added 20 points.

Vandy (21-4, 6-4 Southeastern Conference) dominated UK in every category in the first half, out-rebounding the Cats 14-10, turning the ball over just once to UK’s 12, and hitting 15 field goals, including three 3-pointers. Meanwhile, UK (12-10, 6-3) took just 15 shots and three 3-pointers.

UK had never been held under 16 first-half points in the shot clock era and hadn’t been held under 25 this season. No team had scored 70 or more points in regulation against the Cats in conference play before last night.

Senior guard Ramel Bradley tied the game at three with a 3-pointer early in the first half, but after that, it was all Vandy. The ‘Dores immediately went on a 13-0 run and added another 13-0 run later in the half. The Cats went 12:19 without a field goal, including 9:45 without any points at all, before halftime.

Freshman forward Patrick Patterson had three fouls before his first point. Bradley and Patterson scored 21 and 10 points respectively, but most came in the second half when the outcome of the game was no longer in doubt.

Vanderbilt shot 55 percent overall, blitzing the Cats in a way that brought back reminders of the way UK dominated teams during its run through the league in the mid-1990s.

In 1991, the Cats trailed Louisiana State by 31 points before coming back to win, but that kind of run wouldn’t be duplicated last night. Vandy picked up right where it left off in the second half, pushing the lead as wide as 43 eight minutes into the half before cruising to the 41-point win.