LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- No. 2 Kentucky
looks simply invincible as it closes in on a perfect
run through the Southeastern Conference.
Erik Daniels scored a career-high 20 points and freshman
Kelenna Azubuike added a season-high 16 as the Wildcats
rode another dazzling defensive performance to its 19th
straight win, beating Vanderbilt 106-44 on Wednesday
Marquis Estill added 17 points and nine rebounds and
Gerald Fitch had 15 points and five assists for Kentucky
(25-3, 15-0), which held Vanderbilt to seven field goals
and 15 points in the second half.
The Wildcats play at No. 4 Florida (24-5, 12-3) on
Saturday and can become the first team since the 1995-96
Wildcats to go through the SEC regular season without
a loss. That Kentucky team went on to win the program's
sixth NCAA championship.
Matt Freije, the SEC's fourth-leading scorer, had nine
points to lead Vanderbilt (10-16, 3-12), which lost
for the eighth straight time. The Commodores went 19-of-62
from the field (31 percent), committed 23 turnovers
and was outrebounded 56-34.
Most of the drama occurred during a pre-game ceremony
honoring Kentucky's three seniors -- Estill, Keith Bogans
and Jules Camara.
The school also honored John Stewart, a 7-footer who
signed with Kentucky in the fall of 1998 but died of
a heart ailment during an Indiana state high school
playoff game in March 1999.
Kentucky coach Tubby Smith sobbed at midcourt during
a video chronicling Stewart's career. Smith embraced
Stewart's parents, John and Feleica, before giving them
flowers and a framed jersey.
The game itself was a mere formality.
Kentucky opened with a 15-2 run, scoring on eight of
its first nine possessions.
Eight minutes into the game, Vanderbilt had twice as
many turnovers (6) as it had field goals (3) and trailed
Kentucky extended the lead to 36-14 before Freije had
nine straight points.
But Bogans scored on a drive with 5:26 left before
halftime and the Wildcats stayed in control, rebuilding
the lead to 19 points.
Kentucky started the second half with a 14-2 run capped
by Estill's unlikely 3-pointer from the top of the key
with 15:58 left. The 6-9 Estill had attempted only four
3-pointers all season and missed them all.
By the midpoint of the second half, Smith had sent
seldom-used freshmen Azubuike, Bernard Cote and Brandon
Stockton into the game.
The 6-5 Azubuike, averaging only eight minutes, made
a steal at midcourt and streaked in for a two-handed
dunk and an 85-40 lead with 8:16 left. The 5-9 Stockton
swished a 3-pointer from the top of the key a minute
later to increase the lead to 38.
Bogans left the game with 6:31 left to a standing ovation.
He scored only nine points, but moved past Kevin Grevey
into sixth place on the school's all-time scoring list.
The Wildcats gathered at midcourt, arm-in-arm, after
the game and led the crowd in singing ``My Old Kentucky