Vanderbilt Wins SEC Tournament Championship
New Orleans, La. --
Jeffery Taylor scored 18 points and Vanderbilt rallied to beat No. 1
Kentucky 71-64 in the Southeastern Conference tournament championship
game Sunday, ending the Wildcats' 24-game winning streak.
Jenkins and Festus Ezeli both had 17 points for Vanderbilt (24-10),
which was playing in its first SEC tournament final since 1951, the
year of its only other championship. The Commodores pushed ahead in the
final minutes with a few timely shots, but mostly with suffocating
Kentucky (32-2) didn't score a field goal over the final 8:04 and shot just 35.9 percent from the field (23 of 64).
Darius Miller scored 16 points in a surprise start for Kentucky while Terrence Jones and Anthony Davis both added 12.
coach John Calipari has repeatedly told anyone who will listen that he
doesn't care about conference tournaments, viewing them as a nuisance
before the NCAA tournament.
But Vanderbilt obviously didn't feel
the same way, with a wild scene afterward that saw Jenkins laying on
the court with his hands over his face while teammates celebrated
Vanderbilt had already played Kentucky close twice
this season, and the Commodores were up to the challenge once again.
Taylor scored 13 first-half points and Jenkins hit three 3-pointers as
the Commodores pushed out to a 26-18 but had to settle for a 37-37 tie
As is their custom, Kentucky's fans completely took
over the SEC tournament and turned New Orleans Arena into a home venue,
roaring when Miller was announced as a surprise starter. But even with
that emotional lift, Vanderbilt had more energy in the first half and
the Wildcats were constantly battling from behind.
eight first-half points and a couple of timely 3-pointers by Kyle
Wiltjer helped Kentucky keep things from getting out of hand.
wasn't much separation in the second half until about halfway through,
when Jones had two powerful dunks to put Kentucky up 54-49 and get the
crowd into it.
It looked like Kentucky might pull away, but then
the entire team's shooting touch suddenly went frigid. After a dunk by
Miller with 8:04 left, the Wildcats missed 14 consecutive shots from
the field to lose for the first time since Dec. 10.
It also spoiled the Wildcats' perfect season against SEC competition. Kentucky is 18-1 against SEC opponents.
Vanderbilt has won four of five games heading into the NCAA tournament.
John Jenkins, Vanderbilt
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Erik Murphy, Florida
Bradley Beal, Florida
Terrence Jones, Kentucky
Anthony Davis, Kentucky
Lance Goulbourne, Vanderbilt
Championship Game Notes – Vanderbilt 71, Kentucky 64
Vanderbilt’s second SEC Tournament Championship (1951, 2012)
All-Time Series: Kentucky leads the series 136-45
Earlier this Season: Kentucky won both meetings, 69-63 in Nashville and 83-74 in Lexington
In SEC Tournament Games: tied 4-4
Most Valuable Player was John Jenkins of Vanderbilt. In the three
games, Jenkins averaged 18.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and one assist per
• All-Tournament team included Erik Murphy,
Florida; Bradley Beal, Florida; Terrence Jones, Kentucky; Anthony
Davis, Kentucky; Lance Goulbourne, Vanderbilt.
• Tournament attendance: 154,526 in six sessions, an average of 14,378 per session.
o The 2012 SEC Tournament was sold out before the tournament began.
Trailing 16-13, Vanderbilt made a 13-2 run to take a 26-18 lead, the
Commodores’ largest advantage of the half.
o Kentucky responded with a 17-4 run to retake the lead at 35-30.
o VU bounced back with a 7-2 spurt and the teams went to halftime tied at 37.
Kentucky led 59-54 when Darius Miller dunked with 8:04 to play.
Vanderbilt held UK without a field goal the remainder of the game and
outscored UK 17-5 the rest of the way to get the win.
• Vanderbilt is 24-10 and has won three in a row. VU is 5-0 this season in neutral-site games.
VU held UK to 35.9 percent from the field, the Wildcats’ lowest
percentage this season against an SEC opponent.
• VU outscored Kentucky 21-12 at the foul line.
• Jeffery Taylor led all scorers with 18 points and 11 rebounds, his second double-double of the season.
• VU also got 17 points from John Jenkins and Festus Ezeli.
• Kentucky is 32-2 and had its 24-game win streak ended.
• Anthony Davis totaled 12 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots, his 16th double-double of the season.
Terrence Jones had 12 points and 11 boards, his third double-double of
the season, second in the SEC Tournament.
into the starting lineup, Darius Miller led UK with 16 points, adding
three rebounds, four assists and two steals.