Kentucky Holds Pippen To A Peep And Beats Vanderbilt To Reach SEC Tournament Semifinals

No. 5 Kentucky silenced Scotty Pippen Jr. and turned Vanderbilt and Amalie Arena all Wildcat Blue in a 77-71 victory in the SEC Tournament Friday night in Tampa, Florida, in front of 17,132.

Pippen had scored 33 and 32 points in his last two games against the Wildcats and was bidding to become the first player in decades to score 30 three times against Kentucky, but guard Davion Mintz muzzled him most of the night.

Pippen, a junior point guard, hit just 2 of 17 shots from the field and 1 of 7 from 3-point range to finish with 10 points. Half of his points came from the free throw line. He did manage seven assists.

"I'll give credit to them," Pippen said. "They had a good game on me. We had three games in three days. That had an effect on me. Tired legs."

Pippen was averaging 20 a game and scored 26 on Thursday in a win over Alabama. Mintz scored 10 points himself with five assists and a blocked shot. Kentucky guard TyTy Washington scored 25.

"It felt like we were playing at Rupp," said Vanderbilt forward Jordan Wright, who led all scorers with 27 on 10-of-12 shooting, including 5-of-6 from 3-point range. "They had a great crowd and great energy. When they needed to be picked up, they were there."

The No. 3 seed Wildcats (26-6) will play No. 2 seed and ninth-ranked Tennessee (24-7) at approximately 3:30 p.m. eastern Saturday on ESPN in the semifinals. Tennessee defeated Mississippi State, 72-59, on Friday night.

Kentucky lost at Tennessee, 76-63, on Feb. 15 and beat the Volunteers, 107-79, on Jan. 15 in Rupp Arena Lexington.

The first semifinal will tip off at 1 p.m. Saturday on ESPN between No. 4 seed and No. 15-ranked Arkansas (25-7) and No. 8 seed Texas A&M (22-11), which knocked off No. 1 seed and No. 4-ranked Auburn, 67-62, in the first game on Friday afternoon. Arkansas eliminated LSU, 79-67, in game two.

The SEC Tournament championship game will be at 1 p.m. Sunday on ESPN.

Forward Oscar Tshiebwe scored 12 points with 14 rebounds for Kentucky. Sahvir Wheeler directed a potent Kentucky offense with 11 assists and eight points.

No. 11 seed Vanderbilt (17-16) lost for the 13th straight time to Kentucky with Pippen falling to 0-for-6.

The Commodores refused to go away and stayed close throughout. A 3-pointer by Wright cut Kentucky's lead to 73-69 with 54 seconds to go. It could've grown closer with 20.7 seconds left, but officials appeared to incorrectly rule a possession to Kentucky after the ball went out of bounds.

"Hats off to Vanderbilt," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "Third game in three days, and they never stopped. That's amazing."

Written by
Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests. A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention. Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at, and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.