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The Kentucky Wildcats faced a game effort from the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday and the game was a tight nit affair, in large part because the typically excellent Wildcat Defense allowed the Vandy offense to score at a 115.6 efficiency - the highest rate allowed by the Cats this season.
More after the jump, but don't miss Greg's post on the Lady Wildcats big win against Mississippi St today.
First off, I am once again indebted to Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn for his help in getting video to review the game.
Here is how Vanderbilt's Offense for the season and in conference play compares to the two games they've played against Kentucky.
|Season||SEC||UK 2/11||UK 2/25|
As you can see, Vanderbilt hit their average season long efficiency against the Cats on Saturday and were significantly better than they were 2 weeks ago. I don't think that will be much of a shock to anyone. The strengths of the defense this year have come from defending shots and keeping teams off the line. The Cats did a good job on the first mark, but not quite as well on the second. They did not force many turnovers, even for this team, and while their defensive rebounding was improved from the first meeting, it still left something to be desired.
|Kentucky||Defense Box Score: Kentucky vs Vanderbilt|
I didn't hear Cal's post game comments, but I gather he wasn't pleased with Doron Lamb. I can understand that as Lamb did have a few notable defensive breakdowns in the second half, going under a screen to allow John Jenkins an open three point look which he nailed and giving Jenkins an open path to the basket for an easy layup a bit later.
Those two breakdowns were by far the exception however and I was really impressed with how tightly Lamb stuck to Jenkins throughout the game - very frequently Jenkins would receive the ball coming off a screen in a perfect catch-and-shoot position only to find Doron right in his face. Most of the time Jenkins passed the ball away, but after several times he started forcing shots.
Jenkins is an outstanding offensive player and he still managed a 18 points but it wasn't easy. Jenkins put up a solid 111.2 offensive rating for the game, but that's well below his 126.9 season mark.
|Name||Opp eFG%||Opp TO%||FTRate||DRb%||Stops||Scores||Plays||Stop%||DPoss%||Def Rtg||Opp Eff|
- Anthony Davis once again put up mind blowing defensive numbers. His Defensive Rating was 14 points better than the team mark which is really impressive. Add to that another 70%+ Stop Rate and engagement in 27% of the possessions while on the floor and you get a POY performance on the defensive as well as the offensive end of the floor.
- Kyle Wiltjer did not have a red letter day. I don't know if his leg was still bothering him from the Mississippi St game, but he got scored on twice during the one minute he was in the game.
- This may have been Darius Miller's best defensive game in conference play. He once again grabbed 3 defensive rebounds and prevented anyone from scoring on him. He was nearly as difficult to score against as Davis was, just not involved in as many possessions. That's not a surprise as he was guarding Lance Goulbourne much of the time.