LEXINGTON, Ky. — Tyrese Maxey scored 10 of his 17 points in the second half, and No. 13 Kentucky used a 23-12 run to rally past Vanderbilt for a 71-62 victory Wednesday night that dealt the Commodores their record 25th consecutive Southeastern Conference regular season loss.
The Wildcats (16-4, 6-1 SEC) trailed 40-30 early in the second half before mounting the big run over 8:45 to lead for good at 53-52 on two Immanuel Quickley free throws with 8:33 remaining. Three-point plays by Ashton Hagans, EJ Montgomery and Quickley helped the surge, and Richards added consecutive baskets for a little more breathing room.
Maxey took over from there, scoring nine of Kentucky’s next 10 points, including six consecutive to make it a seven-point cushion.
Richards had 15 points and 11 rebounds, Hagans added 12 points, and Quickley 11 as the Wildcats won their fourth consecutive game and eighth in the last nine.
Meanwhile, the Commodores (8-12, 0-7) broke the SEC mark for futility it briefly shared with Sewanee, which dropped 24 in a row from 1938-40 before leaving the conference.
Vanderbilt also dropped its seventh in a row to Kentucky and eighth overall.
Saben Lee scored 21 points, Dylan Disu had 13 points with 11 rebounds for the Commodores, who shot 26% in the second half after hitting 52% in the first.
Vanderbilt: Despite entering on the brink of the record, the Commodores played like they had nothing to lose in the first half. They pushed the pace and made shots from inside and outside the arc. They then went cold in the second half and couldn’t slow the Wildcats once they gained momentum.
Kentucky: Cold shooting, foul trouble and general sluggishness doomed the Wildcats in the first half and for several moments in the second. That was enough to awaken them to make shots and defensive stops to avoid another home loss to an unranked opponent – one at the bottom of the SEC, yet.
Kentucky visits No. 17 Auburn on Saturday in the first meeting between the schools since losing in overtime to the Tigers last spring in the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. Auburn visits Lexington on Feb. 29.
Vanderbilt hosts Florida on Saturday in the second of a three-game stretch against upper-division contenders.