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Anthony Davis’ scoring outburst tightens PoY race even more

Feb 25, 2012, 3:12 PM EDT

spt-120225-anthonydavis Reuters

Another day, another game in which No. 1 Kentucky fends off a bevy of 3-pointers and a challenge from an SEC rival. Is there anything the ‘Cats can’t do?

With freshman center Anthony Davis, maybe not.

Davis scored a career-high 28 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked five shots as Kentucky (28-1, 14-0 in SEC) beat Vanderbilt 83-74 and clinched the SEC regular-season title with two games left to play. Much of that is due to Davis, particularly his offensive outburst.

His total topped the 27 he dropped on Arkansas in mid-January, doing so with a series of feathery jump shots, follows and long, swooping droves through the lane. At least two baskets came when Kentucky needed it most as the shot clock wound down. To think he missed just one field-goal attempt? Well, that’s stunning.

“I’ve been holding him back,” coach John Calipari said afterward. “I’m trying to get him to stay in school another year.”

Good luck with that. At this rate, Davis is going to be the top player taken in the 2012 NBA draft and snag the national Player of the Year award from Kansas’ Thomas Robinson. Some may scoff, but it’s going to be close.

Davis’ shot-blocking skills are obscene, while his rebounding isn’t far behind Robinson’s (well, on the offensive end. Nobody’s close to T-Rob with defensive rebounding). If Davis stays aggressive on offense – like Saturday – he’ll keep closing. He’s not focused on it, though.

“It’d be great to get the award, but at the same time my main focus is to win a national championship,” Davis said.

More Davis offense is a good thing for UK. It needed a monster finish from senior Darius Miller to rally past Miss State on Tuesday. Vandy presented the same challenge, stretching the Kentucky defense with 3s and not allowing the ‘Cats to heat up from outside. That’s the formula to beat Kentucky.

If Davis counters that with more offense, it’s a scary thought.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

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