Vanderbilt tried for 50 minutes to make history at Rupp Arena on Saturday, but came up just short, as a struggling and undermanned Kentucky scratched and clawed to a 79-73, double-overtime victory in Lexington.
UK freshman Patrick Patterson scored 23 points and pulled 12 rebounds, and senior Ramel Bradley scored 20—all after halftime—in helping the 'Cats even their record at 8-8.
Bradley and Joe Crawford put the final dagger in VU's heart in the second overtime. Crawford hit a lay-up with 3:33 left to help UK re-take a 74-73 lead, then Bradley hit a jumper with 31.6 seconds left for a four-point UK lead after the teams traded several misses following a successful Patterson free throw. Crawford was fouled and canned a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left for the final margin.
The Commodores, one of just five unbeaten teams coming in to Saturday, had a chance to become the first team in history to win three in a row at Rupp and extend their winning streak to a school-record 17 games.
But the 'Dores were out-rebounded 45-23 and got disappointing play from senior starters Shan Foster, Alex Gordon and Ross Neltner, who combined for 16 turnovers.
Meanwhile, star freshman Andrew Ogilvy was out-played by Patterson most of the day, scoring 16 points but getting just four rebounds. Ogilvy also uncharacteristically missed three of seven free throws, all misses coming in overtime.
"When you come into this environment… it's the five guys that start the game that are going to win or lose it for you. I'd say that none of those five played up to the way they needed to play," Coach Kevin Stallings said.
On a day in which Vandy shot 44 percent from the field (including 38 percent from 3), hit just 64 percent of its 25 foul shots, committed 22 turnovers and got killed on the glass, it took a minor miracle just to get the game to overtime.
Things started poorly for the Commodores, then got progressively worse. VU trailed 6-0 early and never led the entire half. Vandy committed 11 turnovers (which led to 17 UK points), shot just 42 percent from the field and was out-rebounded 18-9 in the half. Not surprisingly, they trailed 32-22 at the break.
Much of that was due to the disappearance of All-American candidates Foster and Ogilvy during the half. Foster committed four turnovers and missed all three shots from the field, and Ogilvy was dominated inside by Patterson, who scored 14 points on seven first-half shots and pulled four rebounds.
It could have been even uglier; the Commodores trailed 32-17 at one point, but intense man-to-man defense keyed a 5-0 VU run to end the half.
Things got little better early in the second half. UK led 46-30 with 14:20 to play before a 13-1 VU run, highlighted by 3s from Gordon, Foster and Keegan Bell, got Vandy within striking distance as VU trailed just 47-43 with 10:35 left.
But the Commodores couldn't get over the hump, and looked finished when Bradley's two with 55 seconds left gave UK a 65-61 lead, and Jermaine Beal missed one of two free throws with 28 seconds left that could have cut the margin to two.
But UK's Bradley committed a turnover with 22 seconds left, then Foster buried a 3 with 14 seconds left. Vandy got a defensive stop, and the game went to overtime.
Vandy trailed by two in the first OT with when Darshawn McClellan drove the left side with seconds remaining. He missed a layup, got his own rebound, and missed again before Ogilvy corralled the ball and buried the game-tying shot with 1.8 seconds left.
In the second overtime, VU took a 73-72 lead early when Ogilvy hit one of two foul shots with 4:44 left. It would be VU's only point of the period.
The Commodores (16-1) travel to Knoxville for a meeting with in-state rival Tennessee on Thursday.