NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Kentucky coach Tubby Smith took off his coat and the Wildcats proceeded to take Vanderbilt to the cleaners.
Gerald Fitch scored 18 points and Keith Bogans added 16 as No. 16 Kentucky used a huge run in the second half to rally for a 74-52 Southeastern Conference victory.
Kentucky (12-3, 3-0 SEC East) trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half and faced a 36-28 deficit at the break. The Wildcats were still down, 38-31, when Smith took off his suit jacket with 17:35 remaining.
The teams traded a pair of foul shots before a basket by Bogans started a 10-0 run for a 41-40 edge. Chuck Hayes had a three-point play and Cliff Hawkins added a layup off a steal for Kentucky, which forced turnovers on four straight possessions.
Matt Freije's basket gave Vanderbilt (8-6, 1-2) a 42-41 lead before the Wildcats responded with a devastating 15-1 tear. It featured numerous fast-break opportunities for Kentucky, several miscues by Vanderbilt and Smith exhorting his team from the baseline, where the benches are located at Memorial Gym.
"It was a solid performance," Smith said. "I thought we had good balance in the second half. I thought overall we had a great defensive effort in the second half."
Marquis Estill had five points in the run and Fitch nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 56-43 with 8:14 to go. The final margin was the Wildcats' biggest advantage.
Kentucky had 12 of its 15 steals in the second half as Estill finished with five and Hawkins had four. The Wildcats scored 17 points off 13 turnovers by the Commodores in the second half for a 31-9 edge in points off turnovers.
"Obviously, Kentucky played a great game," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. "They just hit us with a big, hard punch and we didn't respond to it. It's very disappointing for us to not have a better response to their pressure and their defensive play."
Vanderbilt's inability to handle the ball resulted in just four baskets in the second half as it made 4-of-17 shots. The Commodores were outrebounded in the second half, 20-10.
"It was frustrating," Freije said. "We had trouble completing a single pass. You can't play basketball 45 feet away from the basket."
The Commodores drilled their first five 3-point attempts and took a 25-11 lead on Corey Smith's basket midway through the first half. Freije and reserve Mario Moore each made 3-of-4 from beyond the arc for Vanderbilt.
"We came out a little flat, but I imagine that had a little to do with Vanderbilt," Smith said. "They were very aggressive and we didn't respond in the first half."
But the Wildcats' assault in the second half was too much to overcome. Fitch scored 16 points in the final 20 minutes, where Chuck Hayes scored all of his 11 points.
Estill finished with 15 points and seven rebounds. The Wildcats shot 55 percent (17-of-31) in the second half and had a whopping 46-16 advantage in points in the paint, including an 28-6 bulge in the second half.
Smith improved to 10-1 against Vanderbilt as Kentucky improved to 4-1 on the road.