Vanderbilt sends Kentucky home early from SEC Tournament
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WYMT) - The second week of March is tournament time in the south, with teams and fans representing all 14 SEC members schools converging on Nashville to crown a conference tournament champion.
Kentucky, the no. 3 seed, earned their double-bye into the quarterfinals, and looked to take some measure of revenge against the no. 6 seeded Vanderbilt Commodores after a senior night stunner last week.
However, the third edition of this matchup closely followed the script of the second one, with Vanderbilt bringing it home 80-73.
Kentucky was quick out of the gate, helped by the return of Cason Wallace from injury, jumping out to a ten point lead at one point. However, a 12-0 run during the final 2:30 of regulation, helped by two late free throws and a three-pointer, put Vandy on top 39-34 at the half.
Vanderbilt did not let halftime slow them down, firing out of the gate against a faltering Kentucky team. Vanderbilt quickly built the lead up to double-digits. However, a dunk from Chris Livingston provided a spark Kentucky needed to start a small run.
However, Kentucky struggled to keep up the pace, as Vanderbilt once again took a double-digit lead back into the double digits. But another late run, pulled the Cats back within a possession with 7 to play. Despite keeping it close late, Kentucky was just unable to get it done.
Antonio Reeves led Kentucky in points with 22, with Jacob Toppin and Oscar Tshiebwe also scoring in double figures. Tshiebwe took the mantle on the boards with 15 rebounds. Cason Wallace also led the team with 5 assists.
With the loss, Kentucky is now at the mercy of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee for their future. The Cats will find out their fate Sunday evening at approximately 6:00 p.m. during the NCAA March Madness Selection Show right here on WYMT.
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