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Wall the big-play man for Kentucky

Freshman guard John Wall, being followed downcourt by Vanderbilt guard Jermaine Beal, helped Kentucky hand the Commodores their first loss at home this season.

Associated Press

Freshman guard John Wall, being followed downcourt by Vanderbilt guard Jermaine Beal, helped Kentucky hand the Commodores their first loss at home this season.

NASHVILLE — On a night when the shots weren't falling for No. 2 Kentucky, John Wall still managed to deliver another tight win.

The Wildcats shot a season-worst 35.8 percent, but two free throws and a clutch block by Wall in the final 20 seconds gave them a 58-56 win over No. 17 Vanderbilt on Saturday night.

"He just fought his way," Kentucky coach John Calipari said of Wall, who shot 3-of-11 and finished with 13 points. "That will to win, refuse to lose. You just do what you got to do."

Kentucky (26-1, 11-1), which beat Vanderbilt 85-72 on Jan. 30, took a two-game lead over the Commodores in the SEC East and dealt them their first home loss since Jan. 25, 2009.

Wall's free throws with 20 seconds left gave the Wildcats a 57-53 lead, but John Jenkins hit a 3-pointer to pull Vanderbilt (20-6, 9-3) within a point.

Kentucky's Eric Bledsoe missed two free throws, but Wall bailed him out by blocking another 3-point attempt by Jenkins and grabbing the ball.

"That shot was going in," Jenkins said. "He bit, but I went up too fast. He made a good play."

Wall hit a free throw. A.J. Ogilvy caught Darshawn McClellan's long inbounds pass, but his runner in the lane bounced off the rim at the buzzer.

NO. 1 KANSAS 94, COLORADO 74: Cole Aldrich had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the host Jayhawks (26-1, 12-0), who closed in on their sixth straight Big 12 championship.

NO. 4 PURDUE 75, ILLINOIS 65: Robbie Hummel had 22 points and 12 rebounds and Keaton Grant scored 13 of his season-high 15 in the second half for the host Boilermakers (23-3, 11-3 Big Ten).

NO. 7 KANSAS ST. 83, OKLAHOMA 68: Denis Clemente had 27 points and hit five of the Wildcats' 10 3-pointers as Kansas State (22-4, 9-3 Big 12) won its fifth straight road game.

NO. 8 W. VA. 75, SETON HALL 63: Kevin Jones and Devin Ebanks had 16 points each, and the host Mountaineers (21-5, 10-4 Big East) overcame their second late meltdown against the Pirates this season.

NO. 12 NEW MEXICO 59, AIR FORCE 56: Darrington Hobson sank a putback with 16.9 seconds left and Dairese Gary hit two free throws with 2.5 seconds left for the host Lobos (25-3, 11-2 Mountain West), who won their school-record 11th straight in conference play.

NO. 13 GONZAGA 72, PEPPERDINE 54: Matt Bouldin had 18 points and five assists as the visiting Bulldogs (22-5, 10-2 West Coast Conference) rebounded from a rare conference loss.

NO. 15 TEXAS 71, TEXAS TECH 67: Gary Johnson had a career-high 22 points for the Longhorns (21-6, 7-5 Big 12), who hung on after Nick Okorie scored 11 straight for the Red Raiders to pull them within two.

NO. 16 BYU 85, WYOMING 63: Jimmer Fredette and freshman Tyler Haws had 22 points each for the visiting Cougars (25-3, 10-2 Mountain West).

NO. 18 BUTLER 70, SIENA 53: Shelvin Mack had 23 points for the host Bulldogs (25-4), who won their nation-best 17th straight game.

NO. 20 TENN. 63, S.C. 55: The visiting Vols (20-6, 8-4 SEC) needed a late 17-3 run to win their seventh straight game over the Gamecocks.

NO. 21 TEMPLE 75, SAINT JOE'S 67, OT: Ramone Moore had 24 points and nine rebounds for the visiting Owls (22-5, 10-2 Atlantic 10), who beat the Hawks for the seventh straight time.

OKLA. ST. 82, NO. 22 BAYLOR 75: James Anderson tied his season high with 31 points and added 12 rebounds for the host Cowboys, who improved their NCAA Tournament odds by snapping a three-game winning streak by the Bears (20-6, 7-5 Big 12).

N.C. STATE 68, NO. 23 WAKE 54: Farnold Degand hit two 3s in a decisive 9-2 second-half run as the host Wolfpack handed the Demon Deacons (18-7, 8-5 ACC) their second straight loss.

NO. 24 TEXAS A&M 60, IOWA ST. 56: Donald Sloan had 14 points for the visiting Aggies (19-7, 8-4 Big 12), who bounced back from Monday's close loss to Kansas.

NO. 25 RICHMOND 74, GW 70: Kevin Anderson had 24 points, including a 15-foot jumper with 1:22 left that lifted the host Spiders (22-6, 11-2 Atlantic 10) to their eighth straight win.

MARYLAND 76, GA. TECH 74: Cliff Tucker hit a desperation 3-pointer as time expired for the host Terrapins (19-7, 9-3 ACC). Greivis Vasquez appeared to hit a winning 3 with less than a second left, only Maryland coach Gary Williams had called timeout moments before. Tucker then hit one from the left corner.

BC 71, UNC 67: The host Eagles sent the defending national champion Tar Heels (14-13, 3-9 ACC) to their ninth loss in 11 games, their worst stretch since losing 11 of 12 in 2001-02.

RECORD TIED: Philadelphia University coach Herb Magee won his 902nd game to tie Bob Knight for the most by a men's coach. The Division II Rams defeated host Post 70-67.


BARRY 80, TAMPA 71: Zack Trapp had 21 points for the host Buccaneers. Rashad Callaway had 24 for the Spartans (10-14, 4-11 Sunshine State Conference).

ECKERD 85, LYNN 82, 2OT: John Harper had 18 points to lead the host Tritons (16-8, 9-5 SSC).

Wall the big-play man for Kentucky 02/20/10 [Last modified: Saturday, February 20, 2010 11:31pm]
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