Second Half Again Dooms Commodores as Kentucky Comes from Behind for 78-64 win

Greg Arias

NASHVILLE, TN.-Tyrese Maxey delivered a game-high 25 points as Kentucky, who trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half, ran past Vanderbilt in the second twenty-minutes on their way to a 78-64 win at Memorial Gym before a crowd of  11,589 fans, most of which were Wildcat faithful.    

The Commodores led 36-27 at intermission but Kentucky dominated the final half, outscoring Vanderbilt 51-28 and took away any hope of an upset as the pulled away in the final eleven minutes after Vanderbilt had trimmed their lead to just two-points at 48-46. 

From that point, the Cats, lead by Maxey, who scored 15 points after halftime manhandled the Commodores down the stretch.  

Vanderbilt got the start the needed, knocking down shots from the perimeter in the first half as they connected on 8 of 17 three-point shots. Kentucky conversely made just nine total field goals in the first twenty minutes. 

The Commodores built as much as a 14 point advantage in the half before a late Wildcat run trimmed the lead to 36-27 at the half. 

Maxwell Evans led the Commodores with 10 first-half points while Tyrese Maxey paced Kentucky with 10 points. 

Vanderbilt defensively played well through the first half, limiting Kentucky's inside tandem of Nick Richards (4) and EJ Montgomery (2) to just 6 points in the half.  

For the half, the Commodores shot 38% from the floor compared to just 32% for the Cats. It was their 47% from long range that aided Vanderbilt in building their advantage.  

However, the start of the second half would doom Vanderbilt as Kentucky began to push the tempo with a 26-10 run through the first ten minutes of the half as the Wildcats came from down nine at intermission to build a seven-point advantage at the midway point of the period. 

In the end, it was the Wildcats who forced the Commodores into bad decisions in the second half that doomed Vanderbilt to another conference loss. 

Vanderbilt finished the game shooting just 37.3% from the floor and 39.3% from beyond the arc on the night. 

On the other side, Kentucky shot just 32,1% through the first half but shot 61.3%  in the second frame to finish the night at 47.5%

Lee led four Commodores in double figures with 20 points while Scottie Pippen Jr. finished with 13, Dylan Duisu with 12 and Maxwell Evans with 10. 

Immanuel Quickley finished the game with 18 points in support of Maxey, while Nick Richards added 12 and Ashton Hagans finished with 11 for the Cats who improve to 19-5 overall and 9-2 in SEC play. 

For the Commodores, now 9-15 overall and 1-10 in conference play, they turn their attention to Saturday's trip to Gainesville to face the Gators in a 7 pm tipoff at the O'Connell Center.