Kentucky downs No. 10 Tennessee at Rupp Arena
The Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team (18-9, 9-5 SEC) beat the No. 10 Tennessee Volunteers (20-7, 9-5 SEC) 66-54 inside Rupp Arena Saturday afternoon.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team (18-9, 9-5 SEC) beat the No. 10 Tennessee Volunteers (20-7, 9-5 SEC) 66-54 inside Rupp Arena Saturday afternoon.
This marks the first time the Wildcats have swept the Vols in the regular season since the 2011-2012 season.
“Forget about score. Just play. You can’t be playing for result. Just play,” Head Coach John Calipari said post-game. “What I liked was how we defended and how we rebounded. We out rebounded ‘em by eight. You understand, in the country they’re like the best -- they’re a plus eight rebounding. And we ended up being plus eight in the first half. So they’re tough, they’re physical. They got good guards. They got guys out. So do we. But they got guys out. And those guys really make them better.”
At the half, UK led by 20, 39-19. Tennessee shot just 25.9% from the field and was just 1-13 from three-point range. The Cats were dominating on the glass, 22-14. Freshman Cason Wallace had 12 first half points and three assists for the Wildcats.
UK honored the 1996-1998 teams at the half.
Wallace and senior Oscar Tshiebwe each gave the Cats 16 points. Oscar had just 7 rebounds-- less than his usual double-double. Wallace added six boards, six assists and a steal. Freshman Chris Livingston gave UK a double-double (his first as a Wildcat) with 12 points and 10 rebounds (7 defensive) to go along with an assist and a block. It’s his second-straight double-figure performance.
“He reminds me a little bit of Shai (Gilgeous-Alexander),” said Calipari. “Like, really smart. Cares, like, too much. Was listening to too many voices. And building your confidence, he was doing it in practice and then you got to have a demonstrated performance in the game. He’s now that guy.”
Senior Jacob Toppin also scored in double-figures with 11 points, two assists and five boards.
Kentucky shot 20-45 from the field and 3-8 from three-point range. They out-rebounded the Vols by 12 (40-32).
Tennessee shot just 22.2% behind the arc and 37.3% from the field. Senior guard Santiago Vescovi led all scorers with 17 points.
For the third-consecutive game, seniors CJ Fredrick (ribs) and Sahvir Wheeler (ankle) were out with injury.
The win marks the second quad one win for Kentucky as they try to make a push toward the NCAA Tournament. UK and Tennessee sit tied for third in the SEC Men’s Basketball standings, behind Alabama and Texas A&M.
Up next: Kentucky goes to Florida on Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 7:00 P.M. on ESPN.
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