NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)—Just when it looked as if Kentucky was turning its season around, the Wildcats were handed their most lopsided Southeastern Conference loss ever.
Shan Foster scored 20 points and A.J. Ogilvy added 19 points and 12 rebounds as No. 24 Vanderbilt beat the NCAA’s winningest program 93-52 on Tuesday night.
Kentucky hadn’t been beaten this badly in decades.
“To have them to stomp us into the ground like that, it’s horrible,” freshman Patrick Patterson said. “They played like men, and we played like boys.”
Kentucky thought it had fixed the problems that led to a 6-5 start under first-year coach Billy Gillespie, which included an 84-68 loss to Gardner-Webb at Rupp Arena and a 70-51 loss to Indiana that had been the biggest margin in a loss by the Wildcats this season. They had won five straight, including a victory over Tennessee, before Tuesday’s blowout.
The Commodores (21-4, 6-4) started a four-game homestand by winning their fourth straight. The only SEC team to open league play with six of their first nine away from home had lost 79-73 in double-overtime at Kentucky on Jan. 12.
“They took us to the woodshed,” Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said of that loss. “We didn’t want that to happen again.”
They more than got their revenge before a sold-out crowd.
It was the worst loss for Kentucky (12-10, 6-3) since losing by 55 to Kansas on Dec. 9, 1989.
Making it sweeter for Vandy? This 41-point margin matched a 52-11 loss to Rose Polytechnic on Feb. 10, 1910, as the fifth-biggest loss in Wildcats’ history and their worst loss in SEC history. LSU had a 35-point win over Kentucky, 76-41, on Jan. 18, 1987.
“I didn’t see this coming in any way, shape or form,” Stallings said. “Not of this magnitude.”
Vanderbilt had never beaten Kentucky by this big a margin. The Commodores’ previous best was an 81-51 victory Feb. 8, 1989, and now they have won three straight in Memorial Gym and five of the last six in this series.
Gillespie tried to downplay the defeat as only one loss.
“We just got our tail kicked. That’s all there is to it. It’s one loss, and we got our tail kicked severely. Congratulations to Vanderbilt. They played fantastic. We’ll move on. We’ll make a positive out of it someway,” Gillespie said.
Ramel Bradley, who had 18 of his 21 in the second half, said it felt pretty bad.
“Nobody wants to lose like this, on the road, at home regardless. This is just embarrassing,” Bradley said.
Kentucky native Ross Neltner added 15 points for Vanderbilt, and Jermaine Beal had 10.
Joe Crawford had 11 for Kentucky, and Patterson finished with 10.
The Commodores led 41-11 at halftime and led by as much as 43 several times, the first when Ogilvy hit two free throws with 11:36 left at 66-23.
Kentucky had held its last eight SEC opponents below 70 points in regulation. The Commodores hit that on a free throw by George Drake with 9:27 left—10 seconds after Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings subbed out all five of his starters leading 69-30.
The Wildcats looked lost from the start. Kentucky struggled to find the basket, hitting only 3-of-15 from the floor with more turnovers (12) than points (11) in the first half. It was their fewest points by halftime since scoring 11 against Cincinnati on Dec. 20, 1983.
Patterson, the freshman who had been averaging 17.2 points per game, struggled in his first visit to Memorial Gym. He missed his only shot of the first half, turned it over under the basket and picked up two fouls within 50 seconds. His third came with 6:34 left in the first half.
The Wildcats finished with more fouls (26) than made shots (17).
By the time Crawford scored on a drive to get the Wildcats to 10 points with 2:21 left in the first half, fans serenaded Kentucky by chanting “Double digits.”
The second half only got worse.
Crawford was called for a charge, negating a bucket with 16:31 to go. Kentucky coach Billy Gillespie grabbed the ball and started toward the bench, picking up a technical foul.
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