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Mintz has 21 points, No. 5 Kentucky beats Vanderbilt 77-70

MintzVANDY
James Crisp/AP
/
FR6426 AP
Kentucky's Davion Mintz (10) shoots while defended by Vanderbilt's Scotty Pippen Jr. during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/James Crisp)



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
remaining.

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.

BIG PICTURE

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.

UP NEXT

Vanderbilt: Hosts No. 25 LSU on Saturday.

Kentucky: At Alabama on Saturday.