No. 6 Kentucky 71, Vanderbilt 62
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) _ Nazr Mohammed had 19 points and 12 rebounds Saturday night as No. 6 Kentucky improved its record to 22-0 against Vanderbilt in Rupp Arena, beating the Commodores 71-62 in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
Scott Padgett contributed 13 points and a career-high 14 rebounds and Jeff Sheppard had 16 points and seven rebounds for Kentucky (12-2), which controlled the boards by a 57-18 margin.
The Wildcats had 31 offensive rebounds which led to 27 points while Vanderbilt (11-3) had only five second-chance points from five offensive rebounds.
Padgett scored on a tipin and hit a 3-pointer from the right wing during an 11-2 run as Kentucky overcame a 31-25 halftime deficit to go up 36-33 on Sheppard’s drive up the middle at 17:08 following a turnover.
Vanderbilt trailed 41-40 on Drew Maddux’s 3-pointer from the top of the key with 14:16 to go. Kentucky then reeled off 11 consecutive points, capped by Saul Smith’s driving layup at 8:53 to lead 51-40.
Vanderbilt got no closer than 62-55 on Atiba Prater’s layup with 4:01 to go.
Maddux scored 16 points, Austin Bates had 12 and James Strong finished with 10 for Vanderbilt, which shot 43 percent (23-of-54) from the field, including 37 percent (7-of-19) from 3-point range.
There were four ties and four lead changes before Vanderbilt went on a 12-5 run behind Strong’s 3-pointer and layup to lead 29-21 with 3:20 remaining in the half. Vanderbilt’s zone defense proved effective in the first half as Kentucky shot just 29 percent.
Kentucky shot 41 percent (29-of-70) for the game and turned the ball over 19 times, which Vanderbilt converted into 20 points. The Wildcats scored 14 points off Vanderbilt’s 14 turnovers.