Freshman Al McKinney dropped in seven straight free throws in the final 2 1/2 minutes as Vanderbilt upset seventh-ranked Kentucky, 60-55, in Birmingham, Ala. last night in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference basketball tournament.
It was the third straight upset of the day, following an 81-71 decision by Mississippi over 10th-ranked Tennessee and an 88-80 victory by Georgia over Alabama.
Third-ranked Louisiana State avoided another upset in the tournament by defeating Florida, 85-73, with freshman Leonard Mitchell scoring 27 points.
Kentucky took a 10-0 lead on the Commodores, who did not score until almost seven minutes had elapsed when Willie Jones hit a 10-foot jumper.
The Commodores fought back to earn a 27-27 tie at intermission, and led most of the second half before Kentucky regained the advantage at 42-41 with nine minutes remaining on a pair of free throws by Dirk Minniefield.
Vanderbilt took a one-point lead one minute later on a pair of free throws by Jones and stretched it to 45-42 30 seconds later on a driving layup by freshman Al Miller, the game's top scorer with 17 points.
Derrick Hord then scored for Kentucky but Miller and Jeff Turner countered with two points each for Vandy as the Commodores surged to a five-point lead and never let Kentucky get closer than two the rest of the way.
McKinney started his free-throw binge with 2:28 remaining, to give Vandy a 51-46 lead, and Kentucky got within two once more on a free throw by Hord and an 18-footer by Chuck Vanderber with just under two minutes remaining.
McKinney again stretched the lead to four 1:40 from the end.
Vandy (15-13) had only two other players in double figures, Young with 12 points and Charles Davis with 10.
Charles Hurt, who had six of Kentucky's first 10 points, and Sam Bowie led the Wildcats with 12 each and Jim Master had 10 as Kentucky dropped to 22-5.
Carlos Clark and Sean Touhy paced Mississippi to victory and a spot against Vanderbilt in the semifinals. The pair sparked a 17-2 scoring spurt that began with the Rebels trailing, 43-41.