Kentucky entered the game fresh off a gutsy performance in Lubbock, where they knocked off last year’s NCAA Tournament runner-up in the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Perhaps the Cats were riding a little too high from that win, or maybe they were looking ahead to Saturday’s big clash with Auburn, as they came out flat against the Dores and found themselves trailing 35-27 at halftime.
Vanderbilt, on the heels of a 90-66 loss to South Carolina and a 24-game SEC losing streak, held a 47-39 lead with with 13:54 to go, as images of the shocking home loss to Evansville started to creep into the minds of the Big Blue Nation.
But that’s when the Cats clamped down and finished the game on a 32-15 run to come away with a hard-fought 71-62 victory.
Nick Richards scored all 15 of his points in the second half, while Tyrese Maxey finished with a team-high 17 to prevent Vanderbilt from pulling off the monster upset.
Up next, the Wildcats will be in Auburn to face the 17th-ranked Tigers at 6 pm EST Saturday on ESPN.
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