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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Kyle Wiltjer's jumper with 1:57 left put Kentucky ahead to stay, and the Wildcats kicked off their Southeastern Conference schedule Thursday night by holding off Vanderbilt 60-58 after blowing a 16-point lead.
The Wildcats (10-4) also seemed to get a bit of help from officials in the final seconds.
Nerlens Noel hit a jumper with 17.3 seconds left that went in after the shot clock buzzer went off, and Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings took a timeout to plead his case. Officials didn't review the play. Kedren Johnson made a 3 with 7.6 seconds left to pull Vandy within 60-58, and Kyle Fuller stole the inbound pass with 6.7 seconds to go giving Vandy a last chance.
But Johnson's 3 hit the rim just before the buzzer as the rally fell short for Vanderbilt (6-7).
Ryan Harrow led Kentucky with 16 points, Noel had 13 and Archie Goodwin 12.