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Kentucky Basketball: 3 things to know from Wildcats’ ugly win over Vanderbilt

The referees were way too active, but De’Aaron Fox and Isaiah Briscoe were very good in the UK win.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Vanderbilt Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Well that was ugly. Between the weird look of Memorial Gymnasium and all the fouls called in this one, it had to have been hard to watch if you weren’t a Kentucky or Vanderbilt fan.

But there were positives. First, Kentucky improved to 4-0 in SEC play. On top of that, Isaiah Briscoe posted a career-high in points, De’Aaron Fox couldn’t miss from mid-range, and the Wildcats finally won a game that was close in which they did not play all that well. They really hadn’t done that yet this year (see: Louisville).

Here are three things to know from the win.

Isaiah Briscoe had a career scoring night

Briscoe was the leader of Kentucky’s team, not just from an x’s and o’s standpoint (as he usually is), but from a stat sheet standpoint as well. Every time Vanderbilt put up a huge bucket, Briscoe answered with one of his own. He couldn’t be stopped when driving to the lane, as he made great moves to the bucket and finished his layups consistently.

He went 10-18, scoring 23 points, and he accompanied that with 7 rebounds and 5 assists.

The referees had way too much control of the game

The officiating tonight was flat-out awful. In the first half, Vanderbilt got the majority of the questionable calls, and it went the other way in the second half. Regardless of who was getting the calls, the officials completely killed the flow of the game, making it feel like it was about seven hours long.

This, of course, is not good for a Kentucky team that plays best when there’s non-stop, fast-paced action for several minutes. Instead of a fast-paced battle, they got a free throw competition. Kentucky committed 23 personal fouls, and Vanderbilt committed 20.

Meanwhile, the ‘Cats attempted 24 free throws while the Commodores attempted 32. The referees stopped this game way too many times.

De’Aaron Fox was dead-eye from mid-range

Fox isn’t a great shooter, and we’re used to seeing his points come from transition layups. But tonight, he couldn’t miss with the stop and pop jumper from mid-range. His ability to stop on a dime helped, as he’d get defenders going full speed and then leave them grasping for air as he halted and shot. He was able to drop the shot more often than not, as he shot 11-17, and had 22 points.

Of course, Fox still did his thing around the rim as well.

Ugly or pretty, a win is a win, and the Cats will take it.

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