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.
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.
Kendren Johnson's 3 attempt hit the rim just before the buzzer as the rally fell short for Vanderbilt.
Ryan Harrow led Kentucky with 16 points, Noel had 13 and Archie Goodwin 12.
Johnson finished with a game-high 18 points, and Rod Odom added 12 as Vanderbilt outrebounded Kentucky 42-37.
Shelby Moats hit a 3, and Dai-Jon Parker added a 3 to get the Commodores rolling. Kentucky went cold too, missing 12 straight shots from the floor. Johnson's driving layup tied it up at 47, and Jeter's dunk capped the run and gave Vanderbilt its first lead of the game at 49-47 with 6:11 left.
The teams swapped the lead twice with three ties down the stretch. Johnson's bucket for Vandy tied it for the last time at 54, then Wiltjer's long jumper put Kentucky ahead to stay to set up the frantic ending.
Kentucky won its SEC opener for the 23rd time in 26 seasons, improving to 62-18 all-time.