Kentucky defeated Vanderbilt 83-81 in a comeback overtime win.

Highlights from UK Sports Video 

Game Notes

ATTENDANCE: 21,143

Final Score: #21/22 Kentucky 83, Vanderbilt 81 (overtime)

Team Records and Series Notes

  • Kentucky is 17-5 overall and 6-3 in the Southeastern Conference. Vanderbilt is 8-14 overall, 2-7 in league play.
  • Kentucky leads the series 145-47 and has won four in a row against the Commodores.
    • UK leads 81-14 in games played in Lexington.
  • Next for the Wildcats: Kentucky plays at Missouri on Saturday. Game time is 2 p.m. ET and it will be televised on CBS.

In the First Half

  • Kentucky’s starting lineup featured Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Hamidou Diallo, Wenyen Gabriel, Kevin Knox and Nick Richards for the first time this season.
    • It was Gabriel’s first start of the season. He started 23 games last season.
  • Richards got UK off to a hot start with five points, three rebounds and two blocked shots in the first minute and a half of the game.
  • Kentucky extended its streak of 1,035 consecutive games with a 3-pointer when Quade Green hit a straightaway three with seven minutes on the clock.
  • UK led 23-19 when Vanderbilt went on a 10-0 run to retake the lead.
  • VU led the remainder of the half and went to intermission with a 33-27 advantage.
  • Kentucky had only one assist in the first half, its fewest since one in the first half vs. Vanderbilt on March 1, 2011.
  • UK is 6-3 this season when trailing or tied at halftime.

In the Second Half

  • Vanderbilt extended its lead to 14 points, its largest of the game, at 45-31.
  • Kentucky rallied with a 13-2 run, cutting the deficit to 47-44.
  • Jeff Roberson blunted the rally by scoring Vanderbilt’s next eight points and VU eventually pushed the lead back to 11 at 57-46.
  • Trailing 66-59, UK had a 6-0 spurt and got within one at 66-65 with 1:23 remaining.
  • UK got back within one, 70-69, with 8.7 seconds on the clock on a driving layup by Green.
  • UK fouled with 5.8 seconds left and Roberson made the first of a one-and-one to make it 71-69.
  • Gilgeous-Alexander was fouled with two seconds left and he hit both free throws to send the game to overtime at 71. Jarred Vanderbilt chased down the rebound and saved it before going out of bounds to set up the foul.

In Overtime 

  • UK got a pair of four-point leads, but each time Vanderbilt’s Payton Willis responded with a 3-pointer and the Commodores eventually regained the lead at 79-78.
  • A Kevin Knox basket-and-one put the Wildcats back ahead but the Commodores tied it on a putback with 11 ticks left.
  • Quade Green got the game-winner with a driving layup with four seconds left and the Wildcats survived a missed 3-pointer at the buzzer for the victory.

Team Notes

  • This was Kentucky’s first overtime game over the season and UK is now 59-47 all-time in overtime games.
    • UK has won its last three overtime games.
  • UK is now 3-1 this season in games decided by three points or less.
  • UK finished with seven assists, tying the season low.  It is also tied for the third fewest in a game in the John Calipari era.
  • UK had only nine turnovers and the Wildcats are 9-0 this season when committing 12 or fewer miscues.
  • With Knox getting 34 points at West Virginia and Gilgeous-Alexander 30 tonight, it is the first time UK has had two different players score 30 in consecutive games since Dec. 20 and 22, 2008, when Jodie Meeks went for 46 vs. Appalachian State and Patrick Patterson followed with 33 vs. Tennessee State.

Player Notes

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Wildcats with a career-high 30 points.
    • 24 of his points came in the second half or overtime.
    • His previous best was 24 points in the win over Louisville.
    • It is his fourth 20-point game of the season.
    • In his two games vs. Vanderbilt, Gilgeous-Alexander totaled 52 points and nine assists.
    • Gilgeous-Alexander’s 12 field goals are the most by a Wildcat this season.
  • Kevin Knox tallied 18 points, 14 of which came in the second half or overtime. He led the Wildcats in rebounding with eight boards.
  • Quade Green tallied 12 points, including the game-winning drive with four seconds left in overtime.
  • After a bruised knee limited him to just 11 minutes at West Virginia, PJ Washington played 33 minutes and contributed six points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
  • Nick Richards got the Wildcats going with a hot start – five points, two rebounds and two blocks in the first 1:30 of game time – and finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
  • Wenyen Gabriel did not score but once again was an active rebounder with six boards. He has six or more rebounds in each of the last six games.
  • Jarred Vanderbilt played seven minutes and had three points and three rebounds. Vanderbilt has 32 rebounds in 56 minutes this season, an average of one carom per 1.75 minutes of action, an outstanding ratio.

Coach John Calipari

  • Calipari has a 711-198 all-time on-court record.
  • Calipari is now 266-58 at Kentucky.
  • Calipari is 147-7 at Rupp Arena, including 129-4 against unranked opponents.
  • Calipari is 15-4 vs. Vanderbilt in his career.

Postgame interviews 

Kenny Payne

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Quade Green 

Kevin Knox

Bryce Drew

Box score

Season stats

Quotes

Kenny Payne

KENNY PAYNE: To walk in these doors, for a freshmen (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander) in college to walk in these doors and on the biggest stage in college basketball and play against every night teams that are geared to beating you and that’s living their whole basketball career to beat the Kentucky’s in the SEC. For that kid to come out the way he did for us to win says a lot about him. That was adversity throughout the game for him, he kept fighting. Same with Kevin (Knox). The way Kevin finished this game, opposed to the way he started it? Big. Big for him. Because that was pressure on him, as an example, a kid comes off a game where he has 34 points, he’s second guessing, am I expected to do this every night? Well, as you see, the answer is yes and sometimes it doesn’t go that way.

Q. You guys are down 14 and immediately you go on the attack. Also with Shai attacking are you surprised that no one hardly can stop him once he gets going to the basket?
KENNY PAYNE: All year he’s been really good at getting in the lane. We chart lane touches and every game he is our No. 1 guy that touches-to-lane. He’s a really good player, he’s hungry, he’s a high-character kid that comes to work every day and smiles and I mean it’s an example of why you come to this school and develop and learn and to be the best.

Q. Kenny, how significant to you is it that Quade Green, a guy who lost his starting job to Shai, for one reason or another, and Shai has taken so much shine and tonight was having so much shine, is the guy who gets to make the winning play and gets to be at the bottom of that dog pile out there?
KENNY PAYNE: I don’t know exactly how many seconds was on that clock when he got the layup, but how about his poise? There’s a lot other things that he could have done and he had the poise to drive that ball to the basket and roll the ball over somebody’s head and lay it in the basket. I mean, that shows his maturity as a player and he made a big play in a tough situation.

Q. Could you talk about, up until the 30 minutes or so, what was kind of wrong with your team? It seemed to lack energy, focus, execution, I don’t know, you tell me.
KENNY PAYNE: We’re trying to teach young kids toughness, mental toughness, physical toughness, toughness through adversity, to play the game with a fire, with a desire that and a will to win, a will to dominate your position, a will to play together and no matter what the other team does, no matter what calls go against you, you fight to get that win. That’s what we’re teaching. At times it’s hard because you’re dealing with young kids’ emotions. On the floor you can see it. There are guys out there that are not having success, they put their heads down. There are guys out there that they’re learning about who they are, they’re seeing adversity for the first time and in the meantime we’re saying, step to the side, we got to win this game. So it’s hard, it’s really, really hard doing what we do, but on the flip side, who would want to be anywhere else other than this doing this?

Q. Vandy outrebounded you guys and had more points in the paint, is there anything specific that let that happen, allowed that to happen?
KENNY PAYNE: Definitely. We knew for the last three days that Vanderbilt was going to drive us. The first time we played them there were 12 plays where it was either a straight line drive or a turn down on a ball screen. That’s 20-something points. When you watch us play them the first time it was obvious what they were going to do. They’re not going to settle for threes and move the ball around the horn and not penetrate and just shoot three. They’re going to put us on our heels and try to get down the lane and make plays. The Roberson kid (Jeff Roberson) was unbelievable tonight. He really hurt us. He out played P.J. (Washington) and Jarred (Vanderbilt) and Wenyen Gabriel. He was really, really good. But in the end we kept fighting. I mean my hat goes off to them because they played so hard and you could say they deserved to win, but welcome to Kentucky.

Q. (Riley) LaChance and Roberson both had four fouls for an awful lot of the second half. Were you trying to go at them and get a fifth foul on them or not?
KENNY PAYNE: We were trying to get in the lane. What we did down the stretch of the game, whoever Roberson was guarding, the opposite big went up to set the ball screen on Shai. So we didn’t want him, because he can switch and guard a smaller guard, he can guard a Shai (Gilgeous-) Alexander on a switch, so we just went opposite, whichever one that the five man was guarding, the other big went and set the ball screen and it happened to be P.J. And Shai again, what he did to get in that lane and finish those plays was big for us.

Q. The way you guys won at West Virginia and then the way you won tonight, how much do you believe in like a momentum building that’s creating something here?
KENNY PAYNE: I think that the fact that we’re winning these games is important. So that shows there’s a will to win, but, my goodness, I wish it was a little easier. I would like for us as a team — and I’m sure Cal’s the same — to play those last five or six minutes, play the game like that and let’s see how good we are. Let’s all 12 guys or 14 guys that suited up in the jersey, you step on that floor, all of you guys are playing 40 minutes of basketball the way you ended that game, the way you ended the five minutes at West Virginia, and let’s see how good we are. If we can figure that out, man, we’re going to be tough to beat.

Q. With about nine or 10 seconds left in regulation y’all needed a three to tie. They gave Quade the lane, he drove the ball and scored. What’s the strategy that late in the game when you go for the tie or go for whatever you can get?
KENNY PAYNE: He had a wide open lane, take a quick two or get us a three. Quick two was there, he took it. There was time for us, obviously, to get the basket, get another foul. It worked out, it was really good.

Q. Is there any kind of worry that this teaches young guys it’s okay to fall behind two straight games going down double digits or are you just happy with the fight?
KENNY PAYNE: I’m not happy at all. I’m sure Coach Calipari is not happy at all. We are thankful we won the game, but the coaching staff’s not happy because we’re trying to trend in a direction. We’re trying to build this team up to play a certain way to be ready for SEC Tournament play, to be ready for an NCAA run and to be honest with you, the way we played that first half, tentative, not aggressive, not communicating on defense. Defensive lapses, you’re going to get beat if you’re playing tournament basketball like that. So are we content? Not at all. Will we be harder on the players? Believe me, we will.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

UK Student-Athletes

#0, Quade Green, Freshman, G

On the last play of the game …

“I just saw an open layup. I saw the big man was at the top of the key so he wasn’t guarding the row.”

On the resiliency of this team…

“We keep fighting. We’re some fighters. We keep pushing it and pushing it and don’t want to lose. We always want to win. “

On the rarity of dogpiles in Rupp Arena and if he was surprised…    

“That was my first one actually. I wasn’t surprised it just shocked me. I just turned around and saw Johnny [David] running at me then everybody was on me pushing me down to the ground. I was very surprised PJ [Washington] pushed me down to the ground but the blood was running through my body so I didn’t feel it.”

On his injuries, this season

“We couldn’t lose on the floor twice this year so we just had to fight. They were outworking us, rebounding, hitting shots so we had to outwork them.”

On what changed to cut a 14 point lead… 

“I would say Shai [Gilgeous-Alexander]. He made some crucial buckets that really helped us.”

On why no one could stop Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

“No, he’s hard to guard. He has a seven-foot wingspan, he grabs and holds on offense so it’s very hard to guard him.”

On if his approach changes coming off the bench… 

“No, It’s the same approach really if I’m starting versus coming off the bench. It doesn’t matter to me I’m just coming to play hard.”

On his mentality taking the last shot

“I’m shooting that shot always. I will always have that mindset. I like taking big shots and I had my Kobe’s on so I was feeling like Mamba in my roots.”

#5, Kevin Knox, F

On tonight’s game being a “gut check” win…

“It was a good one for us. I mean, they caught our plays the whole game, but we fought and came back. Just like West Virginia, we were clamping, got some stops on defense, and executed on offense.”

On back court foul with two seconds left…

“It was a good fade by Jarred (Vanderbilt). He kind of threw it up and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander went up and got it. It was a foul, I’m glad they called it and Shai knocked down the free throw.”

On Quade’s game winning lay-up…

“I thought Cal was going to call a time out. I think that’s why he paused a little bit, but he kept going, and I guess they thought we were going to call a time out, but he just went straight up for the layup and made it. It was a good play by him and good awareness.”

#22, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Fr., G

On how desperate were they being down 14 again…

“It was tough. But, obviously we knew if we fought we could come back because we did in the game prior to this one. We fought and we were able to pull out a win.”

On if there was a point in the second half where he knew he would put the offense on his back…

“That was really coach and my teammates calling the play and putting the ball in my hand. Then having great spacing and being ready to shoot and keeping the defense honest that allowed that to happen.

On if anything was going through his head after having a tough game at WVU on the effort the team would give…

“Personally, I felt a little lackadaisical in the beginning. For the rest of my team I can’t really speak for them. We had to put together a fight as a collective group in the beginning. Once we got it together we were able to get on a roll.”

On if it was hard to gear it back after an emotional game at WVU…

“I wouldn’t say it was hard. I think it was just us being complacent, myself a little bit included as well. We have to stop doing that. We get a little bit too high after good wins and stuff like that and we have to stay level headed.”

Vanderbilt Head Coach Bryce Drew

Opening statement …

“Well this game really hurts. You know, we prepared really hard and played really hard. You know, we took some of their runs and responded and had a great opportunity to win this game in the last three minutes. Their offense got really hot, we couldn’t get any stops those last five minutes and, you know, we were just kind of scrambling there, trying to figure out a way to get a stop, get a rebound, and still loved our chances in that last minute and it’s just unfortunate you know, it wasn’t meant to be there at the end.”

On what make Gilgeous-Alexander so good …

“You know, he has great size and he is shifty. You know, he uses his change of speed really, really well. And, he has a size that can fish over the top of smaller guards or get shots up over bigs and so he has had two excellent games against us and you know you’ve got to credit him for being a shot maker, especially in that second half today.”

On what’s going through your mind watching last play of regulation …

“Yeah, you know, obviously we thought he was going to make both. You know, he is one of our best free-throw shooters and with the scramble we thought it was a good situation. You know, the ball was going and took about three seconds off and you know, unfortunately we were going for the loose ball and committed a foul. Obviously it’s a play we wish we could have back, but that’s basketball. You can’t get it back, you can only learn form it.”

On Riley LaChance…

“He’s a senior, he’s been here. The first one was nothing but net, and we felt really good about it. If we miss, we have close to six seconds to try to defend and get the stop, which we hadn’t done in the last few minutes. We hit a three-pointer, a seventeen-footer, one and one, we had depth that we split. We had a lot of plays that could have helped win the second stretch.”

On the Kentucky defense… 

“They started running to the ball and trapping it, trying to speed the game up. We made a few bad decisions trying to attack and get some of their bigs, which resulted in quick points for them on the other end. Once we settled down, we broke the press and moved the ball a little bit. It got us our rhythm back. They’re going to make runs, they’re too good not to. We were able to build that lead back up.”

On the winning play… 

“We didn’t make it back like we should have. We gambled in the back court and let them get around at an angle. That’s a mistake from a younger one of our players that we will correct and work on for the future. I still thought we had a really good look at the front of our bench, from my angle it looked like it was going in but it was a couple of inches short.”

On Riley LaChance… 

“Riley has won games for us. It wasn’t just him, we had an open three, open seventeen-footer, an one-and-one. We split a pair, and then we made a foul 65 feet from the basket with two seconds on the clock. If one of those plays go our way it’d be a different conversation we’re having up here.”

 On what goes through their minds through these close games, ninth single digit loss …

“It has been a lot, and we turned the corner like a couple weeks ago with a couple close ones. This one is different because it was free throws, we missed a couple of shots; then it was a foul that we wish we could have back. So, this one had a lot of common denominators that we haven’t had throughout the season, and all the losses seem like it was a different formula.”

On how much different UK looks now and how better does Vandy look …

“We’re much better, there’s no question. Right now we are in a good rhythm; we’re moving the ball well. Players are stepping up and playing much better. I really like how our team is playing and I feel like we can play much better. I wish we could have flip flopped and played this game at home this time around. We knew Kentucky was a good team and they were going to make runs, so we tried to keep them on their heels as long as we could.”

On how well he thinks Vanderbilt controlled the tempo …

“Tempo is obviously a big key. The bigger key was when they started to press and make their run. We wanted to break the press but didn’t make really good decisions. There is a couple of decisions that we wish we could take back. Fifteen turnovers is too many, you’ve got to credit Kentucky for turning us over.”

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