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'MILLER TIME' CATS ROUT VANDY

Date story was published: Thursday, February 8, 1990

Derrick Miller became the first Kentucky player to score 40 points in Rupp Arena and the 36th to reach 1,000 for a career last night.

Riding Miller's 15-for-28 shooting, Kentucky bombed Vanderbilt 100-73.

No Wildcat had scored 40 points in the previous 213 UK games played at Rupp. Melvin Turpin was the last UK player to score that many. Turpin had 42 against Georgia in the 1984 Southeastern Conference Tournament at Nashville.

Miller's 40 points lifted his career total to 1,031, good for 33rd place on the school's all-time list.

Not so coincidentally, the scoring frenzy helped UK break the game open in the second half.

Improving to 11-10 overall and 7-5 in the Southeastern Conference, Kentucky outscored Vandy 54-34 after halftime. It enabled UK to reach the 100-point mark for the first time since a 121-110 loss to North Carolina, a span of 11 games.

Miller, who had 25 second-half points, hit five of his six three-pointers after intermission. The first two fueled a 15-2 UK run that began the second half and gave the Cats a 61-41 lead.

Miller's next two 'threes' helped him personally outscore Vandy 8-0. The one-man spurt put UK ahead 71-44. Vandy got no closer than 18. UK's lead crested at 76-48.

"Miller was unbelievable," Vandy coach Eddie Fogler said. "He got it going. I've been telling people in Nashville that our three-point defense is not very good.

"They're a very streaky, 'spurty' team. They put us in the hole pretty good."

As hot as Miller was (10 of 16 in the second half), Kentucky coach Rick Pitino credited point guard Sean Woods' turnaround for UK's breakout. Woods had two points and one assist in seven forgettable first-half minutes. After absorbing a halftime tongue-lashing from Pitino, Woods had eight second-half assists.

"In the first half, all of a sudden Sean was a three-point shooter and going one-on-one," Pitino said. "At halftime, I told him keep doing that job in the second half and I'll probably kill you. In the second half, he kept finding Derrick and made everybody play better. . . . We picked up our unselfishness in the second half."

Pitino called it a Jekyll-Hyde performance, Woods said.

"At halftime he told me I'd gone from looking like an All-American to looking like a Catholic school guard," Woods said.

As for passing to Miller, Woods said, "He was hot, so I had to keep giving him the ball. . . . I kept things in perspective."

Kentucky led 46-39 after a first half that saw Miller reach the 1,000-point mark for his career.

Miller's milestone came with 8:55 left in the half. Rather than his patented three-point shot, Miller scored the historic 1,000th point on a drive to the basket after faking a bomb.

"This was my best game," Miller said. "I didn't get all my points on three-pointers." Miller was six of 15 on three-point attempts, nine of 13 inside the line.

Reggie Hanson chipped in 14 with points and six rebounds in the first half, the latter helping UK to a 17-14 advantage on the boards.

UK's big edge came in converting Vandy turnovers into points. The Cats outscored Vandy 21-6 in points off turnovers in the first half. The margin was 40-8 for the game.

"They were a lot better than the first time we played," Fogler said. "They had a lot better defense. Certainly the press was more effective here than in Nashville. We shot well in the first half (55.2 percent). In the second half, we couldn't put it in the ocean (28.6 percent)."

Vandy got off to a quick start. The Commodores made five of their first eight shots. The result was an early 11-7 lead.

The early momentum disappeared after Fogler made three substitutions at the 16:10 mark. All of Vandy's 12 first-half turnovers came after the substitutions.

Miller, who hit five of 12 first-half shots, started quickly in the second half. First, Pitino gave Miller the game ball for his 1,000th point.

Two thousand points seemed possible with Miller's start. UK's lone senior hit three straight shots, two of them three-pointers.

Miller's second three-pointer gave UK a 58-41 lead, prompting a Vandy timeout with 17:39 left.

Too late. It was party time for UK.

Vandy began rushing -- and missing -- three-point shots. Three clanged off the rim.

At the other end, the Cats got a rock 'em, sock 'em layup from Deron Feldhaus that brought a roar from the crowd. It also brought strength coach Ray "Rock" Oliver off the bench in foot-stomping glee.

With two defenders crowding him, Feldhaus leaned in and flipped up a funky looking shot that banged in.

Fouled, Feldhaus hit the free throw to complete an 11-0 run that gave Kentucky a 61-41 lead.

On Vandy's next possession, John Pelphrey signaled that UK wasn't through yet. Pelphrey banged hard into Dan Hall rather than let the freshman from Benton have a less-than-crucial layup.

Pelphrey smiled broadly. All he needed was Vandy blood dripping from his teeth to complete the effect.

One of Miller's stream-of-consciousness shooting sprees put the game out of reach. Miller hit three straight shots, the first two three-point bombs, to personally outscore Vandy 8-0. That run gave Kentucky a 71-44 lead, prompting another Vandy time with 13:07 left.

All that remained were memorable moments.

At 12:46, Feldhaus took a three-pointer from the corner. It hit high off the rim, then fell through. UK led 74-46.

At 8:22, Jeff Brassow picked off a cross-court pass and dribbled three- quarters of the length of the court to a two-hand dunk. UK led 78-53.

At 7:03, Woods threw a 15-foot bounce pass by two defenders. Miller took it for a baseline flip. UK led 82-57.

At 2:55, Miller hit another baseline shot, giving him 40 points. UK led 91-69.

At 0:23, walk-on Nehemiah "Junior" Braddy hit a three-pointer to give UK 100 points.

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