Saturday, January 12, 2008

Vandy, Washington State Eliminated from Unbeaten Ranks

And then there were three.

UCLA knocked Washington State off their lofty perch, handing the Cougars their first loss of the season, and it was mayhem in Lexington as Billy Gillispie had his team focused on a win. With the undefeated Commodores in town, Kentucky entered the game losers of 6 of their last 8, with an overall record of 6-7. This was their first SEC game.

Rupp Arena has seen it's share of upsets, but on Saturday, the Kentucky Wildcats exposed Vanderbilt's weakness and smothered the previously-unbeaten Commodores, 79-73.

The Wildcats consistently fed their big man, Patrick Patterson, in the first half, and he not only ate the Commodore's lunch, but polished off dinner and enjoyed a nice dessert and a cup of coffee. The 6'8" freshman, pounded the ball inside to the tune of a game-high 22 points on 7 for 12 shooting with 8 of 11 free throws and 12 rebounds.

In the second stanza and overtime, it was all Ramel Bradley, who scored 18 points - including the game-clincher with 32 seconds left in the second OT - after being held scoreless for the first 20 minutes.

It was ugly for Vandy from the start, as Kentucky led by as many as 16 points in the first half. Patterson led the way with 14 points in the opening period, which ended with Kentucky holding a 10-point lead, 32-22.

The Commodores closed the gap in the second half as Shan Foster and Alex Gordon turned up the shooting. Vanderbilt's freshman sensation, A. J. Ogilvy delivered a key basket with under thee minutes to play cutting the lead to 3, but was limited to 16 points on 6-11 shooting. Foster cut the lead to 2 points (63-61) at the 1:45 mark on a deep three-pointer.

After Kentucky's Ramel Bradley hit a short jumper and a free throw by Vandy's Jermaine Beal made it 65-62, Kentucky turned the ball over on consecutive possessions with under 40 seconds to play, giving the Commodores life. Foster banged home his 4th three pointer of the game to tie it at 65-all with 17 seconds to play.

In the first overtime, Ogilvy scored a key put-back with 4 seconds remaining to force another extra 5 minute period.

Foster finished with 20; Gordon tallied 12.

Patterson improved on his averages of 16.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, leading the Wildcats in both departments.

The losses leave just three undefeated teams in the NCAA. North Carolina pounded in-state rival NC State, 93-62. Memphis and Kansas played late games.

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