The Kentucky Wildcats get the first one out of the way, in a nail-biter, as they beat the Vanderbilt Commodores, 77-71. It’s difficult to beat a team three times, especially after that team has played for three straight days and is warmed up, and that’s exactly what transpired.
Jordan Wright for Vandy was a flamethrower tonight, dropping 27 points with five made threes.
For Kentucky, TyTy Washington got his groove back, dropping 25 points and going 4-5 from downtown. Washington scored 12 of the final 16 points for the Wildcats and provided short scoring spurt that provided the Wildcats a little bit of space that ultimately brought home the win.
Jacob Toppin was the unsung hero for the Wildcats provided a much-needed burst of energy off the bench, including one of the most athletic blocks you’ll ever see (see below.) John Calipari thinks Toppin may have broken his nose after taking an elbow to the face, but strapped on a facemask and went right back to work.
Up next, a rematch with the Tennessee Volunteers. The last time these teams met in the SEC Tournament, the Vols sent the PJ Washington-led Wildcats packing in the semi-finals. Kentucky looks for revenge on Saturday.
Here’s what Twitter had to say:
I genuinely think nothing else mattered for Kentucky in Tampa except staying healthy and TyTy Washington getting right. So yeah, 21 points for Washington is big.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) March 12, 2022
TyTy Washington scored 12 of the final 16 points in the Wildcats 77-71 win over Vanderbilt.— Keith Farmer (@KeithFarmer18) March 12, 2022
8 straight points for TyTy Washington when Kentucky needed it.— Shawn Smith (@gbbcountry) March 12, 2022
Ty Ty— ashton hagans (@H23Ash) March 12, 2022
Think this is one of Oscar Tshiebwe’s best defensive games of the year. Just been a constant, consistent, in-position presence on the interior all night. Has the five blocks, but he’s contested way more than that, even, and affecting everything Vandy tries to get inside.— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) March 12, 2022
The Oscar Tshiebwe rebound tracker made it to Tampa. pic.twitter.com/HeNO6HYCMX— Shawn Smith (@gbbcountry) March 12, 2022
Jacob Toppin has been Kentucky's MVP today.— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) March 12, 2022
Another massive play by Jacob Toppin. That effort wins you basketball games.— Shawn Smith (@gbbcountry) March 12, 2022
LOL Pippen is too tired from pushing off and flopping all night— BrianB (@b_bruemmer) March 12, 2022
Does defeating Doug Shows and Pat Adams count as a quad 1 win?— Jason Parrish (@JasonParrish24) March 12, 2022
Kentucky basketball gets its first post-season win since March 29th, 2019— Maggie Davis (@MaggieDavisTV) March 12, 2022
Didn't think Kentucky played bad at all. Played decent by its standard, Vandy's playing well. TyTy scoring 25 in his first postseason game is the most interesting part of the night.— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) March 12, 2022
By the way, I like my team.— JD Shelburne (@JDSHELBURNE) March 12, 2022
CATCH THOSE CATS IN THE SEMIS— Kentucky Athletics (@UKAthletics) March 12, 2022