Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - John Wall hit the go-ahead layup with 39.1 seconds to play in regulation, and No. 2 Kentucky survived poor free throw shooting and A.J. Ogilvy's leaner at the buzzer to take a dramatic 58-56 win over 17th-ranked Vanderbilt.
Ahead 57-56 with under 12 seconds left, the Wildcats (26-1, 11-1 SEC) had two separate chances to make it a three-point game down the stretch, but Eric Bledsoe missed two free throws and Wall made 1-of-2 at the line with 2.5 seconds remaining for a two-point difference.
Kentucky called timeout after Wall's make, and Vanderbilt (20-6, 9-3) drew up a baseball pass from under its basket to Ogilvy at the opposite foul line. The ball got to Ogilvy cleanly, but his one-handed leaner with DeAndre Liggins in his face hit off the rim to send the Commodores to their first loss in 14 games this season at Memorial Gym.
"That was pretty close to the basket to have covered that amount of ground in 2.5 seconds," Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings said. "We practice those shots - at least our big guys do - and it was a pretty good look for 2.5 seconds to play."
Wall and Bledsoe combined to shoot 5-of-19 from the floor for 13 and eight points, respectively, while fellow freshman DeMarcus Cousins picked up the slack with 19 points to send the Wildcats to their seventh straight win.
Patrick Patterson added 13 points and 13 rebounds, as Kentucky won despite making a mere 35.8 percent of its shots.
Ogilvy scored nine points while Jeffery Taylor ended with a team-high 17 for Vandy, which made just 2-of-20 three-point tries to fall for the first time in four games.
With the win, Kentucky took a two-game lead over Vandy in the SEC East standings.
Remarkably, it was a one-possession game through the first 13-plus minutes of a very physical second half.
Festus Ezeli's tip-in broke a 45-all tie, and after Bledsoe missed an open three, Taylor made two free throws for a four-point Vanderbilt lead with 6:08 to play.
The lead was quickly erased on a pair of Cousins free throws and Bledsoe's backdoor layup. Patterson then hit a three from the right corner to put Kentucky on top, and Cousins again earned a trip to the stripe, making 1-of-2 to cap the 8-0 run for a 53-49 lead with 2:57 left.
Vanderbilt had three turnovers in five touches before Jermaine Beal's runner cut the deficit to two with under two minutes showing. Good defense on a lob to Patterson resulted in a miss, and Beal dished to Andre Walker on the right block for the tying layup.
Wall lost the ball on the ensuing drive but regained control and laid in the go-ahead layup, 55-53, with 39.1 seconds on the clock. After Lance Goulbourne bricked a three from the left wing, Wall calmly drained two freebies with 19.9 ticks remaining.
John Jenkins' contested three made it a one-point contest 7.3 seconds later, and Bledsoe missed two free throws at the other end.
With a chance to go ahead, Beal opted not to drive through the open left lane and instead dished outside to Jenkins, who had his three-point try blocked by Wall.
The Player of the Year candidate corralled the loose ball and made one free throw prior to Ogilvy nearly sending the game to overtime, much to the chagrin of the home crowd.
"We knew coming in it was going to be a crazy environment," Cousins said. "We just came in and got a tough win."
The biggest lead in the first half was six, held on two occasions by Kentucky. Two Cousins free throws gave the Wildcats a 14-8 edge near the 12-minute mark, though Vandy scored 10 of the next 12 points for an 18-16 edge with just over seven minutes left.
It was back-and-forth the rest of the stanza, and the Commodores trailed 27-25 at halftime despite shooting 30 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes.
Taylor's dunk tied things in the opening minute of the second half, and on the next possession tensions were raised when Bledsoe pushed Taylor, garnering a technical foul from both parties.
The Wildcats lead the all-time series, 133-43, and snapped a four-game losing streak at Memorial Gym...Beal had six points on 2-of-9 shooing, well below his team-high average of 14.7 ppg...Vandy made 32.1 percent from the field overall...Kentucky hit just 17-of-30 from the foul line.