Mintz has 21 points, No. 5 Kentucky beats Vanderbilt 77-70
Davion Mintz scored 21 points off the bench, hitting a 3-pointer during a pivotal 11-2 run, and No. 5 Kentucky overcame nearly blowing a double-digit lead to survive Vanderbilt 77-70 on Wednesday night for its third consecutive victory.
The Wildcats (18-4, 7-2 Southeastern Conference) twice led by 10 in the second half, but the Commodores eventually closed to 56-53 with 9:28
Keion Brooks Jr. answered with a jumper, Lance Ware made a free throw and Mintz took Sahvir Wheeler's baseline pass to make a wide-open 3 from the right corner for a 62-53 advantage with 7:23 remaining.
Kentucky's Oscar Tshiebwe (17 rebounds, 11 points) followed Scotty Pippen Jr.'s basket with three free throws before TyTy Washington Jr.'s jumper off made it 69-57. Mintz added two free throws as Kentucky earned its 11th consecutive series victory over the Commodores.
Pippen had 33 points for his second 30-point outing this season against Kentucky, making 11 of 23 from the field. Jordan Wright had 14 points for the Commodores (11-10, 3-6), who sought their first win over Kentucky since 2016. Vanderbilt was coming off a season sweep of Georgia.
Mintz made 4 of 7 from deep and 6 of 11 overall. Brooks followed up his career-high 27 points at then-No. 5 Kansas by making 7 of 15 from the field and 6 of 8 free throws.
The second half was tense and chippy, with Kentucky's Tshiebwe twice whistled for flagrant-1 fouls and Vandy's Jamaine Mann called for one.
Wildcats coach John Calipari drew a technical foul in the first half before Commodores counterpart Jerry Stackhouse picked up one after halftime.
Vanderbilt wasn't done despite digging a halftime hole with 11 turnovers. They got out of their own way and twice rallied to within a possession after halftime but couldn't finish.
Kentucky faced more resistance from Vandy than at Kansas and had to work harder for looks. The Wildcats shot just 28% in the second half as a result, but got a huge basket with Mintz's 3 off a beautiful feed from Wheeler.
Vanderbilt: Hosts No. 25 LSU on Saturday.
Kentucky: At Alabama on Saturday.