Vanderbilt Topped at No. 5 Kentucky

Scotty Pippen Jr. scores 33 points

LEXINGTON, Ky. — In a game of punches and counterpunches, multiple technical fouls and heightened intensity from both teams, No. 5 Kentucky withstood visiting Vanderbilt’s multiple scoring runs to hang on for a 77-70 victory at Rupp Arena on Wednesday.

Vandy got 33 points and five assists from Scotty Pippen Jr. Jordan Wright added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Commodores, who trailed by just three points with 9:28 to play but couldn’t get any closer.

Vanderbilt (11-9, 3-5 SEC) returns home to host No. 25 LSU (16-6, 4-5 SEC) at 5 p.m. Saturday.

After starting out down 6-5 early Wednesday, Kentucky scored six straight to go up 11-6. Then Davion Mintz connected on a four-point play to make it 15-9. Vandy responded with a 9-0 run and took an 18-15 lead on Jamaine Mann’s up-and-under layup followed by a goaltending call.

The Wildcats responded with a 10-0 spurt to get ahead 25-18 after Keion Brooks hit a layup. Minutes later, Mintz buried a right-corner 3-pointer to make it 32-20, and Oscar Tshiebwe finished strong under the basket for a three-point play and a 35-22 advantage for the home team.

Kentucky led by as many as 16 late in the second half before Vanderbilt was able to close the gap to 41-31.

The Wildcats shot 50 percent and dished out 11 assists.

Vanderbilt quickly cut the deficit down to 43-38 on a Wright triple early in the second half. Then Wright’s jumper from the right elbow got Vandy within one at 44-43.

Kentucky stretched that margin back out to 54-46 on Brooks’ fall-away jumper at the 11:20 mark. Once again the Commodores fought back—they got to 56-51 on five straight from Trey Thomas and then 56-53 on a Jamaine Mann free throw with 9 1/2 minutes to play.

The Wildcats then slowly built a 67-55 lead and left just 5 1/2 minutes left on the clock for the visitors to find a comeback. But they didn’t have one left in their arsenal.

Brooks scored 20 for Kentucky (18-4, 7-2 SEC), while Mintz had 19 and Tshiebwe had 11 points and 16 rebounds.


  • Pippen Jr. (1,246) passed Matthew Fisher-Davis (1,219) for 32nd on Vanderbilt’s all-time scoring list. Brad Tinsley (1,252) is 31st
  • In six career games against Kentucky, Pippen has averaged 21.5 points, 4.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds.
  • Wright has started 36 straight games for Vanderbilt.
  • Trey Thomas has played in 46 straight games for the Commodores.
  • The Commodores are now 47-152 all-time against Kentucky and 20-94 as the visiting team.
  • Vandy’s last win at Rupp Arena was Jan. 20, 2007.
  • Vanderbilt is now 17-70 against opponents ranked in the top with the last victory coming March 11, 2012 against Kentucky in the SEC Tournament championship.
  • Attendance on Wednesday was announced as 19,418.