Kentucky were challenged on Saturday night, but pulled away late as their defense stifled Vanderbilt and kept them scoreless in the final four minutes.
The Vanderbilt Commodores shot the ball well in the second half and contained the Kentucky Wildcats with a difficult to break down zone defense, but the No. 1 team in the nation did enough to hold on to a road win. Vanderbilt are a team very much in need of a signature win, but couldn't find it on Saturday night as the Wildcats held on for a 69-63 victory.
Kentucky took an 11-point lead into halftime, and they looked like they were going to coast to an easy win. Vanderbilt were very poor shooting the ball in the first half, and their defense was average. Kevin Stallings apparently did something right in the locker room, as Vanderbilt looked much better in the second half. They led on two separate occasions, but Kentucky's defense was suffocating down the stretch and didn't allow the Commodores to score in the final four minutes.
Vanderbilt took their first lead with just under ten minutes remaining, but Kentucky turned the tide on an Anthony Davis three-point play, followed by a great three-pointer over the zone by Doron Lamb with just over seven minutes remaining, which gave his team a 59-55 lead at the time. Vanderbilt fought back and took a 63-61 lead on a couple of big jump shots by Brad Tinsley just before the four-minute mark, but those would be Vanderbilt's last two baskets.
Lamb hit another massive three with three minutes remaining, putting Kentucky up for good. Their defense didn't give Vanderbilt a single quality look for the rest of the game as they slowly expanded their lead to the winning six-point margin.
Davis was a monster on defense yet again, blocking seven shots on the night. Lamb led Kentucky and all scorers with 16 points and was one of four UK starters in double figures; Michael Kidd-Glichrist was the only Kentucky player who didn't hit the 10-point mark as he attempted just four shots. Kentucky are now 11-0 in the SEC, while Vanderbilt sit at 6-4 with a trip to Rupp Arena still to come.