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January 20, 2007Last year, Vanderbilt's win in Rupp Arena snapped a 31-year losing streak to Kentucky in Rupp Arena. Suddenly, it's the Wildcats who are having trouble beating the Commodores in Lexington.
Vanderbilt (13-6, 3-2) got 23 points from Derrick Byars and 16 more from Shan Foster as the Commodores connected on 11-of-23 3-pointers in defeating No. 25 Kentucky 72-67 (15-4, 4-1) in front of 24,284 fans on Saturday afternoon.
The win was Vandy's third in a row against the Wildcats, and fourth in a row over a ranked opponent. It snapped an 11-game winning streak for UK.
The Commodores controlled most of the first half, and led by as many as nine, but a turnover-filled stretch let UK back in the game. The 'Cats had led just once in the first half at 2-0, but Bobby Perry hit a 3-pointer to cap a comeback that gave Kentucky a 33-32 lead at the break.
Vandy charged out of the locker room with a from Byars on its first possession, then another 3 from Kentucky native Ross Neltner for a 38-33 lead.
A 10-3 run by the Wildcats, ending when Joe Crawford hit a 3, put UK back up 43-41. The lead changed hands a couple times, but Vandy managed to hold a slim lead late into the second half until a closely-guarded Ramel Bradley hit a leaning 19-footer with under three minutes remaining to put UK back up 59-58.
That would be Kentucky's last lead. On the next possession, Foster backed up and hit an 18-footer from the right side to put Vandy up by one, and then got a steal and fed Byars for a fast-break layup.
Kentucky missed its next shot, and Vandy looked to run. Neltner raced towards the basket, and instead of attempting a guarded layup, found Dan Cage wide-open in the left corner for another 3-pointer that put the Commodores up 65-59 with 1:13 to play.
Foster came from nowhere to block a baseline jumper on the next possession, and after a Commodore corralled the ball, the Wildcats fouled Cage, who hit both ends of a one-and-one. That would effectively be the final nail in UK's coffin, as Cage and Foster each added a pair of free throws, and the Commodores cruised to victory.
Vandy became the first Southeastern Conference team to score more than 60 points against Kentucky this season. It was UK's first loss since a Dec. 2 defeat at North Carolina.
Foster added seven rebounds and seven assists to lead the Commodores in those departments, and Cage (10 points) was the only other Vandy player to score double-figures. Perry's 13 were a game-high for Kentucky.
The Commodores stay on the road Wednesday, as they face No. 16 LSU (13-5, 2-2) in Baton Rouge. The Tigers were blown out at Arkansas on Saturday.
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