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UK Basketball: Postgame notes and milestones from thrilling win over Vanderbilt

The Cats pull off another comeback and defeat Vanderbilt in an overtime thriller.

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

Tuesday night’s game was a mirror of what happened Saturday night in Morgantown. Only this time, Kentucky came out flat to a lesser opponent: a Vanderbilt Commodores team who is last in the SEC. The Wildcats showed no sign of urgency or passion in the first half and found themselves down six at halftime.

The Cats had improbable luck, however, with huge free throw misses by Vanderbilt in the final seconds. Shai Gilgeous was fouled with less than five seconds left and hit two free throws to tie the game and eventually advance the game to overtime.

In overtime, Gilgeous-Alexander came up with clutch points, as well Kevin Knox with a three and Quade Green with what would be the game-winning layup.

Gilgeous-Alexander netted 30 points on just 12/19. 24 of his 30 points came in the second half and overtime. His 30-point night was a career high for Gilgeous-Alexander. Knox didn’t match last game’s performance but managed to score 18 and grab eight rebounds as well.

The most important part of Knox’s night was he stayed aggressive and continued to show emotion on the court. Green was the team’s third leading scorer with 12 and Richards scored 10 to round out the double-digit scorers.

Hamidou Diallo played arguably his worst game as a Wildcat, scoring just two points in 21 minutes while failing to make a shot and grabbing just one rebound. He was also the cause of multiple defensive breakdowns in the second half that could have cost the Cats the game.

The win certainly wasn’t pretty, but winning two in a row is a big step forward for this young team. It’s obvious this is Knox’s and Gilgeous-Alexander’s team, but they’ll need their supporting cast to step up on a more consistent basis if they want to win against elite competition.

The Wildcats’ next opponent is the Missouri Tigers, which they’ll take on Saturday in Columbia at 2 P.M. EDT. The Tigers are struggling so far this season after losing their star forward Michael Porter Jr. Missouri is just 13-8 overall and ranked 11th in SEC play.

Here is a look at the postgame notes and milestones from Tuesday night, courtesy of UK Athletics:

Team Records and Series Notes

  • Kentucky is 17-5 overall and 6-3 in the Southeastern Conference. Vanderbilt is 8-14 overall, 2-7 in league play.
  • Kentucky leads the series 145-47 and has won four in a row against the Commodores.
  • UK leads 81-14 in games played in Lexington.
  • Next for the Wildcats: Kentucky plays at Missouri on Saturday. Game time is 2 p.m. ET and it will be televised on CBS.

In the First Half

  • Kentucky’s starting lineup featured Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Hamidou Diallo, Wenyen Gabriel, Kevin Knox and Nick Richards for the first time this season.
  • It was Gabriel’s first start of the season. He started 23 games last season.
  • Richards got UK off to a hot start with five points, three rebounds and two blocked shots in the first minute and a half of the game.
  • Kentucky extended its streak of 1,035 consecutive games with a 3-pointer when Quade Green hit a straightaway three with seven minutes on the clock.
  • UK led 23-19 when Vanderbilt went on a 10-0 run to retake the lead.
  • VU led the remainder of the half and went to intermission with a 33-27 advantage.
  • Kentucky had only one assist in the first half, its fewest since one in the first half vs. Vanderbilt on March 1, 2011.
  • UK is 6-3 this season when trailing or tied at halftime.

In the Second Half

  • Vanderbilt extended its lead to 14 points, its largest of the game, at 45-31.
  • Kentucky rallied with a 13-2 run, cutting the deficit to 47-44.
  • Jeff Roberson blunted the rally by scoring Vanderbilt’s next eight points and VU eventually pushed the lead back to 11 at 57-46.
  • Trailing 66-59, UK had a 6-0 spurt and got within one at 66-65 with 1:23 remaining.
  • UK got back within one, 70-69, with 8.7 seconds on the clock on a driving layup by Green.
  • UK fouled with 5.8 seconds left and Roberson made the first of a one-and-one to make it 71-69.
  • Gilgeous-Alexander was fouled with two seconds left and he hit both free throws to send the game to overtime at 71. Jarred Vanderbilt chased down the rebound and saved it before going out of bounds to set up the foul.

In Overtime

  • UK got a pair of four-point leads, but each time Vanderbilt’s Payton Willis responded with a 3-pointer and the Commodores eventually regained the lead at 79-78.
  • A Kevin Knox basket-and-one put the Wildcats back ahead but the Commodores tied it on a putback with 11 ticks left.
  • Quade Green got the game-winner with a driving layup with four seconds left and the Wildcats survived a missed 3-pointer at the buzzer for the victory.

Team Notes

  • This was Kentucky’s first overtime game over the season and UK is now 59-47 all-time in overtime games.
  • UK has won its last three overtime games.
  • UK is now 3-1 this season in games decided by three points or less.
  • UK finished with seven assists, tying the season low. It is also tied for the third fewest in a game in the John Calipari era.
  • UK had only nine turnovers and the Wildcats are 9-0 this season when committing 12 or fewer miscues.
  • With Knox getting 34 points at West Virginia and Gilgeous-Alexander 30 tonight, it is the first time UK has had two different players score 30 in consecutive games since Dec. 20 and 22, 2008, when Jodie Meeks went for 46 vs. Appalachian State and Patrick Patterson followed with 33 vs. Tennessee State.

Player Notes

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Wildcats with a career-high 30 points.
  • 24 of his points came in the second half or overtime.
  • His previous best was 24 points in the win over Louisville.
  • It is his fourth 20-point game of the season.
  • In his two games vs. Vanderbilt, Gilgeous-Alexander totaled 52 points and nine assists.
  • Gilgeous-Alexander’s 12 field goals are the most by a Wildcat this season.
  • Kevin Knox tallied 18 points, 14 of which came in the second half or overtime. He led the Wildcats in rebounding with eight boards.
  • Quade Green tallied 12 points, including the game-winning drive with four seconds left in overtime.
  • After a bruised knee limited him to just 11 minutes at West Virginia, PJ Washington played 33 minutes and contributed six points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
  • Nick Richards got the Wildcats going with a hot start – five points, two rebounds and two blocks in the first 1:30 of game time – and finished with 10 points and six rebounds.
  • Wenyen Gabriel did not score but once again was an active rebounder with six boards. He has six or more rebounds in each of the last six games.
  • Jarred Vanderbilt played seven minutes and had three points and three rebounds. Vanderbilt has 32 rebounds in 56 minutes this season, an average of one carom per 1.75 minutes of action, an outstanding ratio.

Coach John Calipari

  • Calipari has a 711-198 all-time on-court record.
  • Calipari is now 266-58 at Kentucky.
  • Calipari is 147-7 at Rupp Arena, including 129-4 against unranked opponents.
  • Calipari is 15-4 vs. Vanderbilt in his career.