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Kentucky notches fourth straight SEC win, rolls past Vanderbilt 69-53 Tuesday night in Nashville

By Keith Taylor
Kentucky Today

Kentucky remained undefeated in games played in bordering Tennessee.

The Wildcats (14-6, 5-3) increased their winning streak to four and notched their 14th consecutive victory over Vanderbilt with a 69-53 win over the Commodores Tuesday night in Nashville. Kentucky’s current winning streak began with a 63-56 win over No. 4 Tennessee on Jan. 14 in Knoxville.

Vanderbilt guard Paul Lewis (3) battles for the ball with Kentucky forward Jacob Toppin (0)(Wade Payne, AP via Kentucky Today)

Kentucky scored seven straight to end the first half and led 36-27 at the half. Cason Wallace knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers and sparked a 12-3 Kentucky run to open the second half. The spree pushed the margin to 48-30 and it extended to 20 with six minutes remaining before cruising the remainder of the contest.

For the fourth straight game, Wallace started at the point-guard slot and was joined by CJ Fredrick, Oscar Tshiebwe, Chris Livingston and Jacob Toppin. Guards Wallace, Fredrick and Antonio Reeves combined for 21 points in the opening half.

The Commodores (10-10, 3-4) had no answer to Kentucky’s post play. Oscar Tshiebwe and Jacob Toppin each had a double-double with Tshiebwe finishing with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Toppin added 12 points and 10 rebounds. Toppin has scored 40 points in the past three games.

Coming off a 23-point performance in a win over Texas A&M last Saturday, Antonio Reeves led all scorers with 16 points. Reeves, Wallace and Fredrick combined and made all six of Kentucky’s 3-pointers in the easy victory. Fredrick and Wallace added 10 points each.

Kentucky senior guard Sahvir Wheeler came off the bench and played 22 minutes. He scored four points and dished out five assists.

Kentucky now shifts attention to the final Big 12-SEC Challenge and will play host to No. 9 Kansas Saturday at Rupp Arena.

Burger boys

Kentucky signees Reed Sheppard (North Laurel), Aaron Bradshaw, Justin Edwards and DJ Wagner were named to the McDonald’s All-American game roster on Tuesday. Rob Dillingham, also a Wildcats signee, was declared ineligible for the game.

Sheppard, son of former Kentucky standout Jeff Sheppard, is the first in-state product to be named to the squad since Chane Behanan in 2011. Sheppard is averaging 23 points and eight rebounds for the Jaguars.

Gametracker: Kansas at Kentucky, 8 p.m., Saturday. TV/Radio: ESPN, UK Radio Network.

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