Kentucky Basketball: Cats Grind Out Road Win at Vandy

Kentucky Basketball: The Cats overcame early foul trouble, ugly play and an inspired Vandy effort to beat the Commodores, 87-81, in Nashville

Jan 10, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Isaiah Briscoe (13) passes the ball against Vanderbilt Commodores guard Riley LaChance (13) in the first half at Memorial Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The whistles blew, Vandy packed the paint in a zone and got back on the break, and Kentucky, on a cold night of perimeter shooting, was forced to grind out a tough road win over Vandy 87-81. Kentucky improves to 4-0 in conference play and 14-2 overall on the season.

GAME STATS

While both De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk both went to the bench in the first half, Isaiah Briscoe was there, once again, to carry the load. The sophomore guard lead all scorers with 23 points on 10-18 shooting, grabbed seven rebonds and dished out five assists, against just one turnover, in 39 minutes of action. Moreover, Briscoe was again the floor general for Kentucky, steadying the ship as Kentucky’s early lead faded, directing the needed half court offense, and then answering with a drive to the rim every time Vandy threatened.

Fox had a big second half and finished with 22 points, five rebounds, in only 25 minutes of play. Monk, who played just 29 minutes, finished with 18 points. Bam Adebayo was big in the paint, going 8-10 from the foul line on his way to 14 points and seven rebounds.

And the Cats would need every point as Vandy, who got 19 points each out of Riley Lachance, Jeff Roberson, and Matthew Fisher-Davis, hung around on the strength of eight made 3-pointers on the night. With :18 seconds remaining, J Roberson’s layup cut the lead to just two points, 83-81.

But Monk answered on a floater in the lane seconds later, giving the Cats a four-point lead. After a Fisher-Davis missed 3-pointer, Monk was fouled on runout, hitting two more free throws as the Cats held on for the win.

It was an ugly game from many vantage points, with lots of whistles, and Kentucky was forced into a half-court game as Vandy committed to getting back in transition. Ultimately, any win in Nashville is a good one, and the grind-out style in which the Cats had to play will serve them well down the stretch.

Kentucky returns to action Saturday, Jan. 14, when the Wildcats host Auburn. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 PM EST; ESPN will broadcast the game.

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