Date story was published: Sunday, January 7, 1990
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Kentucky plugged the rebounding hole in its porous basketball dike last night.
But the problem of fouling too much continued to gush, helping Vanderbilt beat UK 92-85.
The referees whistled Kentucky for 30 fouls, twice as many as for Vandy. The Cats paid a heavy price.
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Vandy, the nation's second-best free-throw shooting team, made 31 of 38 free throws. Those shots enabled the Commodores to stretch their winning streak to seven games despite having five fewer field goals.
Vandy, which beat UK for a third straight time, improved to 9-2 overall and 2-0 in the Southeastern Conference.
Fives were wild for UK. The Cats, 5-7 overall and 1-2 in the SEC, lost their fifth straight, marking only the fifth time in school history such a streak has occurred.
"I've got to make an adjustment in my coaching style because the referees won't make an adjustment," UK's first-year coach, Rick Pitino, said on his post-game radio show. "The Big East was nothing like this. I feel I'm in a foreign country."
Pitino did not charge the officials -- David Doge, Don Ferguson and Andre Pattillo -- with favoritism. He said they:
Were inconsistent, especially on low-post decisions.
Called the game too closely.
"We'll have to put our panty hose on and play a different style . . . ," Pitino said. "Somebody in the league office will have to watch the film. But I guess they're busy looking for a commissioner. I'm very, very disappointed in the calls both ways."
One critical low-post call enraged Pitino. Rallying from a 19-point second-half deficit, UK closed to within 84-80 in the final 90 seconds.
Derrick Miller, UK's top scorer with 23 points, missed a jumper that could have halved Vandy's lead, then was called for charging as he went up from the low post with the rebound.
"Ridiculous," Pitino said. "There was no charge there. Derrick Miller full speed couldn't knock anybody over."
Kentucky, outrebounded 53-25 at Georgia Wednesday, stayed even with Vandy. Vandy won the battle of the boards 46-43, but UK demonstrated the kind of gang-rebounding Pitino demanded at Thursday's do-it-or-wish-you-were-in-Panama practice.
Two guards led UK's rebounding: Miller with nine, eight more than he had at Georgia, and Richie Farmer with seven.
UK also limited Vandy to eight offensive rebounds. Tenacious freshman Jeff Brassow had five for UK.
But the fouls helped Vandy stay ahead throughout most of the game. The Commodores shot 11 one-and-ones, and got 20 points off the bonus.
Conversely, UK shot only one one-and-one. It yielded one point.
Vandy led by as much as 19 early in the second half. UK closed to within four late in the second half.
"Fighting to get back with the press, we're exhausted at the end," Pitinio said. "We had nothing left. We took four shots at the end just praying they'd go in."
Brassow and rebounding brought Kentucky back from a 14-point first-half deficit.
Brassow's 11 points in the final 5:50 helped cut a 36-22 deficit to 46-41 at halftime.
Six of Brassow's points came on second-shot opportunities. The Cats outrebounded Vandy 24-23 in the half.
Excepting Miller's desperation 55-foot shot at the buzzer, UK got multiple opportunities on five of its last eight possessions in the half.
UK needed a rally.
UK committed 14 fouls in the half, putting Vandy on the line for six one- and-ones. UK did not enjoy the privilege. Vandy had only five fouls.
Vandy, the nation's second-best free-throw shooting team (81.1 percent) according the last NCAA statistical rundown, made 16 of 19 in the half.
After a quick start, poor shooting also hurt Kentucky. The Cats made four of their first seven shots, including three-pointers by John Pelphrey and Miller. After the latter, at 15:49, UK got only one basket until Pelphrey hit a three-pointer at 9:18.
Between Miller's and Pelphrey's baskets, UK made only one of nine shots. Three of the misses were treys.
But the Cats also missed three shots inside five feet. It was part of a Kentucky's frustrating half of shooting. The Cats made only 17 of 45 first- half shots (37.8 percent).
As the second half began, Vandy snatched UK's momentum.
Scott Draud hit a pair of three-pointers, fueling a 15-3 run that pushed the lead to 61-44.
Pitino tried to stem the tide with a timeout at the 16:46 mark. Draud had just hit his second three-pointer, putting Vandy's lead at 56-43.
Pitino called another timeout at 12:31. It came after Charles Mayes hit a three-pointer to give Vandy its largest lead of the game: 69-50.
Kentucky did not "rotate properly" in its 2-3 zone, permitting the three- pointers, Pitino said. "I took Sean (Woods) out of the game to explain. Then Draud did the same exact thing on the other side."
Faced with UK's continual pressure, Vandy seemed to tire down the stretch.
The Commodores went more than six minutes without a basket. Vandy even missed three free throws.
UK chipped away slowly at the lead. Five free throws began an 8-0 run capped by a Reggie Hanson three-pointer.
Three treys in a 46-second span -- two by Hanson -- cut the lead to 73-69 with 7:02 left. It was closest UK had been since the game's first five minutes.
But the Cats got no closer.
After the rush of three-pointers, UK's shooting cooled. The Cats missed seven of their next eight shots.
Meanwhile, Vandy hit eight of nine free throws in the final 3:24 to keep UK at bay.