By LARRY VAUGHT
After Vanderbilt built a 14-point lead early in the second half Tuesday, Kentucky finally turned up its defensive pressure — and energy. That enabled the Cats to rally for an improbable 83-81 overtime win.
So what happened?
“They started running to the ball and trapping it, trying to speed the game up. We made a few bad decisions trying to attack and get some of their bigs, which resulted in quick points for them on the other end,” Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew said.
“Once we settled down, we broke the press and moved the ball a little bit. It got us our rhythm back. They’re going to make runs, they’re too good not to. We were able to build that lead back up.
“We knew Kentucky was a good team and they were going to make runs, so we tried to keep them on their heels as long as we could.”
Controlling tempo was a huge key for doing that, but not the biggest key.
“The bigger key was when they started to press and make their run. We wanted to break the press but didn’t make really good decisions,” Drew said. “There is a couple of decisions that we wish we could take back. Fifteen turnovers is too many, you’ve got to credit Kentucky for turning us over.”
Drew knew that Vanderbilt missed numerous chances to make a play that would have won the game in regulation or overtime.
“We had an open three, open 17-footer, an one-and-one. We split a pair, and then we made a foul 65 feet from the basket with two seconds on the clock. If one of those plays go our way it’d be a different conversation we’re having up here,” the Vandy coach said.