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January 10, 2013NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Vanderbilt clawed back from 16-point deficit, but a key call against the Commodores and an inability to hit a final shot at the buzzer kept VU from pulling a stunning upset, as Kentucky won a 60-58 thriller at Memorial Gymnasium on Thursday nignt.
Kentucky's Nerlens Noel hit a short bucket with 18 seconds left that gave the 'Cats a 60-55 lead, but replay showed that the shot clock expired before the ball left his hand. Vandy's Kedren Johnson hit a 3 to pull VU closer, and when UK botched the in-bounds pass, Vandy had a final shot.
But Johnson's 3 from the right side didn't fall, and the Wildcats (10-4) left with a victory in the Southeastern Conference opener.
Vanderbilt couldn't buy a basket, and looked dead in the water, trailing 39-24 with 18:08 left. But an 18-0 VU run, punctuated by a Sheldon Jeter dunk, gave the Commodores an unexpected two-point lead with 6:11 left.
The contest went back-and-forth from there, with neither team able to get much breathing room. Finally, when Johnson's shot hit the back rim, it was over, and the 'Dores dropped to 6-7 overall.
Johnson led the Commodores with 18 points while Rod Odom added 12. Shelby Moats just missed a double-double with 10 rebounds and nine points.
Kentucky was led by Ryan Harrow's 16. Noel had 13 and Archie Goodwin added 12.