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February 12, 2008

Vanderbilt embarrasses Kentucky 93-52

Box score

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Shan Foster scored 20 points and A.J. Ogilvy added 19 points and 12 rebounds as No. 24 Vanderbilt handed the NCAA's winningest team one of its worst losses in decades, beating Kentucky 93-52 on Tuesday night.

The Commodores (21-4, 6-4 Southeastern Conference) 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 more than got their revenge before a sold-out crowd.

It was the worse 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.

Kentucky native Ross Neltner added 15 points for Vanderbilt, and Jermaine Beal had 10.

Ramel Bradley scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half for Kentucky, Joe Crawford had 11 and Patrick Patterson 10.

Vanderbilt hadn't beaten Kentucky by this big a margin since Feb. 8, 1989, in an 81-51 victory.

And this game was never in question, even after a Bradley 3 tied it at 3 in the opening minutes.

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.

Stallings brought them back a couple minutes later, and Alex Gordon hit a 3 with 6:35 remaining to push it back to a 43-point margin at 78-35 before the starters went back to the bench.

Neltner, from Fort Thomas, Ky., was 2003 Mr. Basketball in his home state. Going into this game, the senior forward had scored nine or fewer points in 19 games. He scored seven straight as Vandy took control with a 14-2 run, and his jumper with 14:19 to go put the Commodores up 17-5.

Foster kept it going, hitting his first eight shots and both free throw attempts before clanging a 3 off the rim with 11:14 left and Vanderbilt up by 43.

Kentucky looked lost from the start. The Wildcats struggled to find the basket, hitting only 3-of-15 from the floor with more turnovers (12) than points (11) in the first half.

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).

They turned it over on a shot clock violation as Ramon Harris, with the clock at eye level ticking down under the basket, passed the ball to A.J. Stewart in the paint. A five-second call trying to inbound the ball, then Beal hit a 3-pointer for the Commodores' biggest margin at 37-8 with 3:45 left.

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 Gillispie grabbed the ball and started toward the bench, picking up a technical foul.

For more coverage of Vanderbilt, visit VandySports.com; for more on Kentucky, visit CatsPause.com.

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