Vanderbilt battled back hard to retake the lead late in the second half against a vastly talented Kentucky team. Unfortunately for Commodore fans, the Wildcats proved why they're the #1 team in the country in a tight win at Memorial Gym.
Jeffery Taylor put together a head-turning performance, but his leadership wasn't enough as the Commodores fell 63-69 to the top-ranked team in the country. Taylor made his presence felt on offense with threes ,strong drives and limited Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to just four points, but his Vandy squad still lost in a tightly contested game in Nashville Saturday night.
The fact that the 'Dores were in the game was a testament to their resiliency in this contest. Vanderbilt hit the second half of their contest trailing 36-23 and had few responses to Kentucky's swarming defense. The Commodore gameplan of getting the ball to Festus Ezeli failed early in the game, as UK's triple-teams in the paint robbed Ezeli of his effectiveness and opened up possessions for the Wildcats all night. However, Vandy adjusted in the second half to take advantage of their studs on the wings.
Taylor and John Jenkins got the green light in the second half, and their leadership led this team back and put the 'Dores ahead with under four minutes to play. Unfortunately, the team had no answer for Doron Lamb's prime-time three, which gave UK the lead for good with 3:19 to play. The Commodores wouldn't score after that.
Despite the loss, the 'Dores earned points for a strong comeback at home and some big performances from their key players. Ezeli, Taylor, and Jenkins combined for 51 points against a swarming UK defense that threatened to blow this team out early in the first half. Though the game ended in a loss, it was still a solid showing for a team that's looking to improve their stock when March comes around.