Oscar Tshiebwe and Jacob Toppin each recorded a double-double as Kentucky cruised to a 69-53 victory over Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday night.
Tshiebwe finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds while Toppin supplied 12 and 10, respectively, for the Wildcats (14-6, 5-3 Southeastern Conference), who also got 16 points from Antonio Reeves. CJ Fredrick and Cason Wallace added 10 points apiece for Kentucky, which shot 56.4 percent from the field.
Freshman reserve Malik Dia, who had scored just 32 points all season entering Tuesday, paced the Commodores (10-10, 3-4) with 14 points, while Tyrin Lawrence chipped in 12.
Vanderbilt committed just four turnovers and had only five fouls but was hampered by an 18-for-55 (32.7 percent) shooting performance.
The Wildcats have now won four straight following a disappointing 71-68 loss to South Carolina on Jan. 10.
Kentucky held Jordan Wright (11.1 points per game entering Tuesday) and Myles Stute (10.2) to just two and three points, respectively. The duo combined to shoot 1 of 12 from the floor.
Vanderbilt led 20-19 with 7:01 left in the first half, but Kentucky took control late in the period. The Commodores didn’t get within single digits for the final 17:28 of the game as the Wildcats stretched their advantage to as much as 20.
Wallace hit an open 3-pointer from the left side to start the second half, giving the Wildcats the biggest lead for either team up to that point at 39-27.
Minutes later, Wallace pulled down a rebound and threw it to Fredrick, who fed Toppin for a fastbreak lay-up with 15:46 left to cap a 9-0 run and force a Commodore timeout. The Wildcats cruised the rest of the way.
Kentucky led 36-27 at the break after closing the first with a 7-0 outburst. The Wildcats outshot the Commodores 55.2 percent to 35.5 percent before intermission.
Vanderbilt turned it over just three times in the slow-paced first half but missed a number of point-blank looks and was outrebounded 19-14 in the period.
Commodores 7-footer Liam Robbins (foot) didn’t play for the third straight game. He is Vanderbilt’s leading scorer and rebounder.
–Field Level Media
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