NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Kentucky’s getting this winning thing down, even when the No. 2-ranked Wildcats don’t play their best hoops.
Showing its grit when it counted, Kentucky held on to hand Vanderbilt its first loss of the season Saturday night in a 58-56 thriller at Memorial Gym.
The Commodores, whose last loss at home was against Florida in January of 2009, had a chance to force overtime. With 2.5 seconds left, Darshawn McClellan threw a length-of-the-floor pass to a leaping A.J. Ogilvy. His one-handed runner in the lane rimmed out as the buzzer sounded.
The Wildcats (26-1, 11-1) all but locked up the SEC championship. It’s also the second straight game this week that they were able to grind it out on the road. They won in overtime on Tuesday at Mississippi State.
Both teams shot the ball miserably, particularly from 3-point range. But it was Patrick Patterson drilling perhaps the biggest shot of the game with his 3-pointer from the corner with 3:54 to play to finally take the lid off the basket for the Wildcats.
Kentucky freshman point guard John Wall certainly didn’t have his best game, but he came up huge in the final minutes. He had the ball stripped on a drive to the basket, but got the ball back and put it back in with 39.1 seconds left to give Kentucky the lead.
And then on the defensive end, he blocked John Jenkins’ 3-point attempt in the waning seconds.