clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Kentucky Basketball edges Vanderbilt: 3 things to know and postgame chatter

Kentucky dug a deep hole, but somehow, they came out of it victorious.

Vanderbilt v Kentucky Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Cardiac Cats were in full effect for the second straight game. The strong second half performance of the Kentucky guards, namely Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, kept UK in the game against an upset-minded Vanderbilt team. And in the end, it was the guards (and Kevin Knox) that won the game. Gilgeous-Alexander got the game into overtime with two free throws to tie it, and Quade Green won it with a layup with less than 10 seconds to play.

It required clutch play, and it helped that Rupp Arena actually felt like one of the nation’s toughest places to play (which has been rare this year).

Here are three things to know.

A slow start

Kentucky had a pretty ugly first half, and they went into the break down six points because of it. Everything about the half was bad from an offensive standpoint. Kentucky shot just 37 percent from the field, 20 percent from 3-point range and 54.5 percent from the free throw line. They also had 12 fouls and five turnovers. And the worst statistic of all was the Wildcats’ one assist in the first 20 minutes.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was efficient and effective

Gilgeous-Alexander was Kentucky’s leading scorer on the night and he shot a high percentage throughout. He finished the game with 30 points and was 12-of-19 from the floor. He scored just six of those points in the first half, and erupted for 22 of them in the second half. He was also 5-of-5 from the free-throw line and 1-of-1 from 3-point range. It was Gilgeous-Alexander who kept UK in it even after the poor start and the inability to shut Vanderbilt down when the Wildcats went on scoring runs in the second half. He was also a huge reason why UK shot 50 percent in the second half. And in the end he was the reason the game even got to overtime, as he tied it at 71 with two made free throws.

Are they the Cardiac Cats or the Comeback Cats?

We need a nickname for UK the last few games. The Wildcats overcame a 17-point deficit on Saturday take down West Virginia, and then overcame a 14-point deficit on Tuesday to force overtime and eventually win.

Now, let’s take a deep breath and talk about the Cats.