Date story was published: Thursday, February 21, 1991
NASHVILLE -- Rick Pitino left last night's game 19 seconds before its finish. The referees insisted by way of a second technical foul.
Given the frustrating nature of Kentucky's 98-87 defeat at Vanderbilt, the UK coach probably wanted to leave much earlier.
"Not much went right," Pitino said.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
The loss dropped No. 12 UK to 19-6 overall and 11-4 in the SEC.
Vandy broke open a close game with an 18-2 run midway through the second half. The run established a 78-61 Vandy lead with 5:02 left.
From there, the Commdores rode free throws to their 16th victory in 25 games and eighth without a loss at home in SEC play. Vandy improved to 10-5 in the league.
Vandy made 40 of 51 free throws in the game. UK hit four of seven.
Two second-half technicals on Pitino produced four of the free throws. Referee Paul Andrzejewski hit the UK coach with a technical with 16:42 left.
Referee Frank Scagliotta called the second technical with 19 seconds left. Pitino said he thought Jamal Mashburn was fouled in the act of shooting. A moment earlier, he thought a Vandy player walked against the press.
On his post-game radio show, piped to the crowd remaining in Memorial Gymnasium, Vandy coach Eddie Fogler said, "I thought the officiating was outstanding."
After the crowd's cheers died down, Fogler added, "We were playing zone. They were playing man-to-man and pressing. How many times were we fouled in the last six minutes?"
Vandy shot 23 of its free throws in the final 5:42, when Kentucky was in a catch-up mode.
Pitino conceded the free-throw difference did not determine the outcome.
"We lost the game on defense," the UK coach said, "and on the boards."
Vandy's 18-2 run was part of an offensive show that saw the Commodores get points on 16 straight possessions. Again and again, Vandy players drove by UK to set up high-percentage shots.
"We knew if we did get them in a half-court game and run our patterns, we could score," said Bruce Elder, who led Vandy wih 21 points. "They're a good defensive team, but all defenses eventually break down. They were very aggressive and that left some of the driving lanes open."
Pitino blamed foul trouble for making UK tentative on defense. Three of UK's starters fouled out. The two others finished with four fouls.
"We couldn't play as aggressive as we'd hoped," Pitino said. "That set the tone a little bit for our defense.
"The only good thing in the game was Vandy, which is on the bubble, won and probably made the NCAA Tournament."
Kentucky needed a rally in the final 1:27 to close within 38-35 at halftime.
UK trailed 38-31 with 1:27 left and a double-digit deficit loomed.
But Richie Farmer, starting to give UK more offense at the two-guard spot, completing a 13-point half with a turnaround in the lane.
The Cats got another basket when their half-court trap caused a turnover. Jeff Brassow sped to a layup.
"Farmer played brilliantly in the first half," Pitino said. "He was exhausted in the second hlf. We couldn't give him a break because of Sean's foul trouble."
Woods picked up two fouls in the game's first five minutes and fouled out after playing just 15 minutes.
Two other starters, Reggie Hanson and Jamal Mashburn, picked up two fouls each and did not play in the final 5:40. Their absence helped halt a series of Kentucky defensive stops.
In the previous seven minutes, Vandy had not scored a basket. The Commodores missed six shots -- one was blocked -- and committed six turnovers.
UK outscored Vandy 11-3 in that span, turning a 16-12 deficit into its largest lead of the half, 25-19.
Mashburn had the run's highlight play. The freshman forward used a cross- over dribble to snake his way to a reverse layup. Fouled on the play, Mashburn missed the free throw that would have given UK a 23-18 lead.
Besides fouls, Vandy three-pointers also stalled Kentucky's momentum.
"We lost our momentum by giving up three-point shots," Pitino said. "That was a key part of the game, but that's a credit to Vanderbilt."
Charles Mayes had two late in the half to help stake Vandy to a 38-31 lead.
Woods scored back-to-back baskets to start the second half and give UK a 39-38 lead.
But Woods picked up his third foul with 18:15 left. He fouled Draud on a three-point basket. The four-point play gave Vandy a 42-39 lead.
A technical on Pitino extended the lead to 47-41. The UK coach picked up his second technical of the season protesting after Steve Grant blocked a Mashburn layup attempt in front of the UK bench. Referee Paul Andrzejewski ruled the ball went out off Mashburn.
Pitino stepped onto the court with the ball, then slammed it to the floor as he walked back to the bench. Then, the UK coach directed the ball with his foot toward Andrzejewski.
Draud hit both technical free throws to give Vandy a 47-41 lead with 16:42 left.
Hanson and three-pointers got UK close. Hanson's layup cut the deficit to 60-59 with 10:18 left.
Then Vandy took charge.