Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sluggish Kentucky Holds Off Vanderbilt

(1) Kentucky 65
Vanderbilt 57

Final from Lexington, Kentucky

Game recap by UK:

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) With Kentucky's slim lead threatened by a Vanderbilt squad that wouldn't go away, Aaron Harrison coolly stepped up to drain the clutch 3-pointer that has become a familiar sight for the top-ranked Wildcats.

Twin brother Andrew Harrison provided a little more cushion with a layup a minute later before Aaron sealed Tuesday night's hard-fought 65-57 victory with two free throws that kept the Wildcats perfect on a night that featured plenty of blemishes.

All of those flaws were forgotten thanks to the Harrisons' 11 combined points down the stretch, with nine coming from Aaron.

''He's as good as any player in the country the way he played in the second half,'' Kentucky coach John Calipari said of his sophomore guard, whom he hugged tight after the tense contest.

Aaron Harrison, whose clutch 3s earned Kentucky three straight NCAA tournament wins last spring, finished with 14 points, all in the second half. Andrew Harrison added five points as Kentucky (18-0, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) survived its third tight game in five league contests.

''I just wanted to do everything I could to help the team win,'' said Aaron Harrison, who made 4 of 7 from the field including two 3s. ''I knew I had to get my energy together and I did in the second half, which helped me play better.''

Kentucky needed that resolve to put away Vanderbilt (11-7, 1-4).

The Wildcats didn't lead by double digits until early in the second half, and that 45-33 advantage lasted briefly as the Commodores began answering from the perimeter to stay within reach.

Five combined 3-pointers by Riley LaChance (16 points) and Matthew Fisher-Davis (13) helped Vanderbilt pull within 58-54 with 2:36 left. The Commodores never got closer as the Harrisons closed it out for the Wildcats.

Complete Recap

Box Score (click to enlarge):

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