By LARRY VAUGHT
Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew didn’t hold back when talking about Kentucky after the Wildcats blitzed his team 87-52 in Nashville Tuesday night.
“When they’re shooting the ball that well, with their inside presence, they’re going to be tough to beat … by anybody in the country,” Bryce said.
Kentucky made 30 of 54 shots from the field, including 10 of 17 from 3-point range, and had a 30-point lead by halftime. Vanderbilt was just 17 of 46 from the field, including 5-for-20 in the first half.
“Kentucky is playing really well. They might be playing as well as … they might be the best team in the country right now,” Drew said.
Remember that a week earlier Vanderbilt took No. 1 Tennessee to overtime in Nashville in a game many, including UK coach John Calipari, felt it should have won.
Calipari did caution against reading too much into the outcome of Tuesday’s game compared to the game a week earlier between Vanderbilt and Tennessee.
“We played pretty good today. Maybe Tennessee didn’t play well. Maybe Vandy made shots and played out of their minds (against Tennessee),” Calipari said. “To be honest, that was their game (to win). The (foul_ call at the end of the game changed it.”
Vanderbilt guard Saben Lee, who led the Commodores with 15 points, said Tennessee and No. 7 Kentucky were both “elite” teams. He wisely avoided comparing the two teams.
Drew called UK freshman point guard Ashton Hagans, who had eight assists, seven points, six rebounds and one steal, could be the nation’s top perimeter defender in the nation because he can almost cover two players by himself.
PJ Washington had 26 points, 12 rebounds, three steals and two assists against Vanderbilt.
“Sensational. His game from last year to this year, I’m trying to think if there’s a player that’s more improved than him in the country,” Drew said. “It shows what hard work in an offseason can do.”