Quade Green’s driving layup with five seconds left in overtime propelled No. 21 Kentucky to a thrilling 83-81 win over Vanderbilt on Tuesday night at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky.
Green’s heroics came after Shai Gilgeous-Alexander swished two free throws with two seconds left in regulation to force overtime and cap a 14-point comeback.
Kentucky posted its third consecutive win.
The Wildcats (17-5, 6-3 Southeastern Conference) got a career-best 30 points from Gilgeous-Alexander, including 24 in the second half and overtime. Kentucky swept the two-game conference series with the Commodores (8-14, 2-7), as the Wildcats also won 74-67 on Jan. 13 in Nashville.
Kentucky freshman Kevin Knox added 18 points, including five points in overtime. Green added 12 points, and freshman forward Nick Richards had 10.
Kentucky was coming off a comeback victory at West Virginia on Saturday in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Coach John Calipari was unsure if his freshman-dominated team would use the win as a springboard or experience an emotional letdown.
The Commodores also were coming off their best win of the season, an 81-78 victory over TCU.
Kentucky got off to a decent start but fell behind midway through first half after a 10-0 Commodores run.
Vanderbilt, which recently lost senior guard Matthew Fisher-Davis to a season-ending shoulder injury, got 23 points from senior forward Jeff Roberson. Forward Joe Toye added 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, and senior guard Riley LaChance had 13 points.
Vanderbilt held a 33-27 advantage at halftime thanks to 12 points from Roberson. The Commodores shot 44.4 percent before the break, 47.5 percent for the game.
Kentucky got six first-half points from Gilgeous-Alexander as the Wildcats shot only 37 percent, including 1-of-5 from 3-point range. For the game, Kentucky made 45.3 percent of its field-goal attempts.
There were four lead changes and two ties in the even first half.
Kentucky continues SEC play at Missouri on Saturday, the same day Vanderbilt travels to league-leading Auburn.
--Field Level Media