LEXINGTON, Kentucky (Ticker) -- After absorbing a rare home loss to Kansas, Kentucky re-established its dominance at Rupp Arena against Southeastern Conference foe Vanderbilt.
Freshman Rajon Rondo scored a season-high 18 points and Kelenna Azubuike added 16 to help No. 10 Kentucky continue its perfect record in league play with a 69-54 victory over Vanderbilt.
The Commodores entered the game first in the conference in 3-point percentage (.440) and riding a seven-game win streak. But the athleticism of the Wildcats proved too much as the Commodores missed 21 of their 30 attempts from the arc.
"The story of the game was that their defense was a lot better than our defense was," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. "We certainly didn't play anywhere near our best and that had very much to do with them and the effort they put forth."
"I thought for the most part we made them take some deeper (3-pointers)," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "We stayed up on their shooters for the most part and challenged their shots. When (Dawid) Przybyszewski hit that first (3-pointer), we wanted to crowd them and make them put it on the floor. For the most part, we made them do that."
Kentucky (11-2, 2-0), which shot 58 percent (26-of-45) from the field, improved to 29-0 all-time against Vanderbilt at Rupp Arena. It also captured its first two games of conference play for the third straight year.
"It would have been nice to win here, but at the same time I give a lot of credit to Kentucky," said Vanderbilt guard Jason Holwerda about ending his collegiate career 0-4 at Rupp Arena. "They don't ever lose here, especially two in a row."
After a 3-pointer by reigning SEC Player of the Week Mario Moore gave the Commodores (11-5, 2-1 SEC) a 20-13 lead, the Wildcats went on an 11-2 run and finished the first half with a 33-30 advantage.
In the second half, Patrick Sparks hit a 3-pointer in the opening moments and Randolph Morris made two free throws to push the lead for Kentucky to 38-30.
Vanderbilt cut its deficit to 49-43 with 8:29 left on two free throws by Corey Smith, but Kentucky put the game away with a 17-3 run. Azubuike scored eight consecutive points at one point during the spurt.
Two days after fellow freshman Joe Crawford decided to transfer, Rondo shot 8-of-11 from the field and collected four assists and three steals.
"I thought Rajon really controlled the game and he has the ability, both from the offensive and defensive end," Smith said. "Not only is he a very heady, very intelligent player, but he's probably as gifted an athlete as we have on the team."
Chuck Hayes scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds and Sparks chipped in 11 points with three 3-pointers for the Wildcats, who will now be on the road for five of their next six games.
Smith scored 16 points and Moore was held to nine points on 2-of-10 shooting for Vanderbilt. Moore, who finished 2-of-9 from 3-point range, entered the game averaging 14.5 points.
"Mario just didn't have a good night," Stallings said. "He's a very important player in what we do, and in a situation like this, if he doesn't play well, then it's going to be a lot harder for us."
Shan Foster scored nine points and Przybyszewski chipped in eight for the Commodores, who shot 33 percent (6-of-18) in the second half.