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February 11, 2006

Vandy holds on to sweep Kentucky

NASHVILLE - DeMarre Carroll had 22 points and 12 rebounds, and four other Vanderbilt players scored in double digits as Vanderbilt beat Kentucky 84-81. It was Vandy's second win over the Wildcats this season.

The Commodores grabbed an early lead and kept it for most of the game, and led 47-44 at the half. Kentucky finally took a lead at 58-55 when Ravi Moss hit a three-pointer with 10:13 to play.

Vandy's Alex Gordon hit a three-pointer on Vandy's next possession, and Carroll added two foul shots moments later to put Vandy back ahead by two. UK's Patrick Sparks hit a three-pointer to put the visitors back up 61-60, but Vandy's [db]Derrick Byars hit a three on VU's next possession to re-take the lead.

Over the course of the next few minutes, Vandy sprinted to 10-point lead, and appeared on the verge of cruising to a victory, leading 82-72 with 1:28 left.

But the Commodores let Moss have two successive easy lay-ups that sandwiched two Gordon free throws, and then Sparks hit another three-pointer to cut the margin to 82-79 with 1:07 left.

Gordon hit two more foul shots five seconds later to give Vandy some breathing room, but Bradley hit two free throws with 0:53 left to cut the lead to 84-81.

But with Vandy's Gordon handling the ball near the mid-court stripe, UK's Rajon Rondo stole the ball and appeared headed for the other end with an easy layup or dunk.

Gordon, who had fallen to the floor, reached out and grabbed Rondo's ankles. The foul was ruled intentional, and the Wildcats would have two free throws and the ball with 24 seconds left.

But just as UK's window opened, it quickly shut. Rondo missed both free throws, and then a desperation three-pointer from the left corner by Ramel Bradley missed badly after VU had knocked a rebound out of bounds off Rondo's missed three.

"I told Alex after the game that that was the play that won the game," said Vandy Coach Kevin Stallings.

The Commodores, who still have not won a game against an Eastern Division foe other than UK, moved to 4-6 in the SEC and 13-8 overall. Kentucky fell to 5-5 and 15-9.

"It was a great game, and I am very proud of my team. Guys with lesser character and inner strength would have not shown up or would have panicked," said Stallings. "We did not of that. We made mistakes with the press, but other than that one minute and 30 seconds, we played a good basketball game."

Shan Foster (16), Julian Terrell (11), Derrick Byars (17), and Gordon scored in double figures for Vandy, who shot 59% from the field for the game. Kentucky was led by Patrick Sparks (17), Ramel Bradley (14), and Ravi Moss (12).


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