Date story was published: Thursday, January 22, 1987
NASHVILLE -- James Blackmon hit two three-pointers down the stretch to lift Kentucky to a 71-65 victory last night over Vanderbilt.
Blackmon's two bombs came in the final 3:02 after Vandy had reduced a 10- point second-half deficit to 60-59 with 3:39 remaining.
Blackmon's first three-pointer gave UK a 63-59 lead with 3:02 left.
His second followed Ed Davender's block and fast-break basket. That one made it 68-60 with 1:22 remaining.
Blackmon's second three-pointer came with just one second left on the shot clock.
UK rebounded from its 35-point loss against Louisiana State Sunday to improve to 10-5 overall and 4-4 in the Southeastern Conference.
Vandy, which lost for the 11th straight time to Kentucky, fell to 11-7 and 3-4.
Kentucky was only even at the half, tied at 34-34, but that was enough to excite the Wildcats.
Besides being the first test since Sunday's disaster, last night's first half proved the Wildcats could come back froma more immediate adversity.
That trouble came early in the game in the form of 7-foot Will Perdue. The Vandy center scored nine first-half points.
Two thunderous dunks pushed Vandy out to an early 13-6 lead. Each came off a lob over UK center Rob Lock.
When Vandy's three-point shooters got hot, it looked bad for Kentucky. Scott Draud, the Fort Thomas Highlands bomber, came off the bench and hit back-to-back three-pointers. Those shots pushed Vandy to its largest lead of the half, 23-12.
UK struggled early. Mindful of last weekend's embarrassment, the Vandy band chanted "L-S-U, L-S-U" during the pregame warmups and early in the game.
A particular target of the sellout crowd was Rex Chapman. When Chapman missed three of his first four shots, the crowd began chanting "Shoooot" each time the freshman touched the ball.
UK seemed on the run when Vandy still led by 11 with 8:30 remaining.
Then the Cats came back.
Paul Andrews' jumper and a Lock baby hook in the lane cut the deficit to 25-18.
After Perdue hit a layup and was fouled, the resulting free throw increased the lead to 28-18.
Then Derrick Miller and Chapman hit back-to-back three-pointers to get the Cats close.
The final two minutes or so couldn't have been more encouraging for Kentucky.
Ed Davender, who had eight first-half points, hit a short baseline jumper to cut the Vandy lead to 34-29 with 2:02 left.
After Vandy missed, UK got four shots at another basket. Davender missed a wild layup attempt off the fast break. UK scrambled for the rebound and Chapman got off a short baseline shot.
It hit nothing, prompting the routine "air ball" chant. But UK again got the rebound.
The third shot on the possession was Davender's foul-line jumper. It missed, but Vandy's Glen Clem could only knock the rebound out of bounds to keep it from the Cats.
Miller made the fourth shot, a three-pointer, to cut the deficit to 34-32 with 52 seconds left. Vandy seemed willing to milk the clock.
But Draud lost the ball out of bounds while beginning a move against Chapman.
That gave UK 15 seconds to get a tie.
Mike Scott, who entered the game with 2:24 remaining when Lock picked up his third foul, got the equalizer. Scott flipped in a fade-away baby hook with eight seconds remaining.
When Vandy missed a 20-footer at the buzzer, the UK bench erupted in a mass of palm slaps and congratulations.
LSU seemed far away.
Kentucky's long-dormant inside game came alive in early in the second half.
UK's big men scored 10 straight points, fueling a 14-11 spurt that gave the Cats a 48-45 lead with 14:14 remaining.
After two Davender free throws gave Kentucky its first lead, 36-34, the big men went to work.
Richard Madison had three baskets, each over Perdue. The second pushed UK ahead 44-38.
Perdue's two post-up baskets kept Vandy close.
After Vandy closed to 46-45, UK broke the game open with defense. Over the next four minutes, UK forced five turnovers and allowed no baskets.
The Cats converted three of the turnovers into fast-break baskets.
The third, a steal and driving dunk by James Blackmon, pushed Kentucky ahead 56-46. It also forced a second Vandy timeout during the run.
The only thing that slowed UK's momentum was a debatable technical on Chapman for grabbing the rim.
With UK ahead 52-45, Chapman was racing to a fast-break layup.
Much as he did against Louisville, Chapman adjusted the flying dunk into a lay-in as a defender neared.
Chapman seemed to get hit as he released the ball and grabbed the rim.
Instead of a foul against the Vandy player, a technical was slapped on Chapman for grabbing the rim.
Barry Goheen made the technical free throw with 11:52 left. It was Vandy's only point to counter UK's 10. The spurt put UK ahead 56-46.
Offensive rebounding kept Kentucky ahead.
On three of its next five possessions, the Cats got at least one offensive rebound. Two of the rebounds were converted into baskets by Lock and Madison.
The other offensive rebound allowed UK to milk time off the clock.
Madison's basket came with 7:54 and gave Kentucky a 60-52 lead.
The Cats didn't score again for almost five minutes, missing five straight shots.
Vandy scored seven straight points to close to within 60-59. Goheen hit back-to-back jumpers to cut the UK lead to one with 3:39 remaining.
That set up Blackmon's down-the-stretch heroics.