Kentucky looks to start its first winning streak of the season when the Wildcats play host to Vanderbilt in Lexington on Tuesday.
The Wildcats (2-6, 1-0 SEC) snapped a six-game losing streak with Saturday’s 78-73 double-overtime win at Mississippi State.
Dontaie Allen stepped up after he had logged just 20 career minutes — and just one in the Wildcats’ previous three games — hitting seven 3-pointers and scoring 23 points.
“That’s what you’re supposed to do when you get a chance,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “I’m so happy for him. I said before the game, to the staff, ‘I hope he goes big because we need to win.'”
The Wildcats have struggled to find offense, with an average of 62.2 points in their six losses. Brandon Boston Jr. (13.6 points per game), Terrence Clarke (10.7), Davion Mintz (9.9) and Olivier Sarr (9.8) pace the team in scoring. But only Boston, who has scored in double-figures every game, has been consistent.
Clarke missed the Mississippi State game with a right ankle injury and might not play Tuesday.
Vanderbilt (4-3, 0-1) has played just three teams inside the top half of the NET rankings (Florida, Davidson, Richmond) and has lost those games by a combined 50 points. Including conference tournament games, Vanderbilt has won just three of its last 40 SEC contests.
Florida held Scotty Pippen Jr., who leads Vanderbilt in scoring at 22.6 points per game, to his second-lowest point total (18) of the season in Wednesday’s 91-72 Gator victory. The Commodores are finding some offense from Dylan Disu (11.4 points per game) and Myles Stute (10.0), with Stute logging 50 minutes and scoring 27 points in Vanderbilt’s last two games after returning from a COVID-19-related absence.
But the Gators, who blocked nine shots and swiped nine steals, had too much athleticism for the Commodores. Vanderbilt didn’t have an answer for the 6-foot-11 Colin Castleton, who scored a career-high 23 points.
Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse thinks the Commodores can improve.
“We can play with anybody when we do the right things,” Stackhouse said. “When we go back and watch this (Florida) film–and hopefully before we watch film as a team that we got some guys that are going to go back and watch themselves–so that they can see what’s going on and that shows that they care about what we’re trying to do.
“It’s not all the time about the talent and the athleticism. If you do the little things and you do them consistently, you can give yourself a chance to win.”
–Field Level Media