Used 25-3 Run To Defeat Vanderbilt 74-52 1/14/03
No. 16 Kentucky (11-3, 3-0) used a 25-3 second-half
run and stifling defense to defeat the Commodores (8-6,
1-2) Tuesday night 74-52 in front of a sold-out Memorial
Gym. Freshman Mario Moore led the 'Dores in scoring
with 17 points on five three-pointers.
Defense wins championships. Kentucky knows that because
they have seven National Championships to their credit.
When the Wildcats' backs were against the wall, Kentucky
turned up the defensive heat and turned an eight point
Vanderbilt lead at the half to a 22-point victory.
Vanderbilt came out of the gates shooting the lights
out as it buried five of its first six buckets from
long range. Three of those three-pointers came from
freshman Mario Moore, who ended up scoring a career-high
17 points on the night. The most exciting of which occurred
as the shot clock was winding down and Moore used a
cross-over dribble to get enough separation from Keith
Bogans to launch a three that hit nothing but the bottom
of the net. The Memorial crowd erupted as the shot gave
VU an 11-point lead.
But, the Commodores' hot shooting pulled the Wildcats
out of their zone defense and then the tide began to
turn. With Vanderbilt holding a 14-point lead, Kentucky
switched to man-to-man and quickly caused three turnovers
and cut the lead to seven. But the Commodores maintained
composure and finished the half with an eight-point
This game was the tale of two halves. With UK contesting
every pass and trapping at every opportunity, Vanderbilt
was having an impossible time getting into its offense.
It was this intensity that helped Kentucky to 12 steals
in the second half with most of them converted into
easy buckets on the other end.
"It was frustrating," according to junior
Matt Freije. "We had trouble just completing a
single pass. You can't play basketball 45 feet away
from the basket."
The costly turnovers by VU helped the 'Cats deliver
their knockout punch.
"They just hit us with a big, hard punch, and we
didn't respond to it," said head Vanderbilt coach
The hard punch came from the hot hand of UK's Gerald
Fitch. Fitch scored 16 of his 18 points in the second
half. The two biggest blows came when Kentucky stretched
its lead from seven to 13 on two huge three-pointers
The Commodores would not recover and ended up outscored
46-16 in the second half.
The Commodores hit the road to face rival Tennessee
Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. in Knoxville, Tenn.
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