By Tony Acree How did the 4th ranked Kentucky Wildcats lose to the Tennessee Volunteers? Let me count the ways. Coach Rick Barnes had his smaller Volunteer squad spread the much larger Wildcats and drove to the rim in a relentless attack which kept the Cats on their heels. Kentucky, who shot over 50 percent 7 games in a row, only shot 41.7 percent the game. Tennessee’s bench outscored Kentucky. 37-4. The improved play by Wenyen Gabriel and Derek Willis evaporated, with two combining to score only 6 points. Kentucky shot 25% from behind the arc going 6-24 while the Vols shot 50% on 5-10.
Down the stretch, after cutting the lead to 69-66, it was turnovers that cost the Cats as they coughed up the ball on consecutive possessions and Tennessee stretched the lead to seven, 73-66. Kentucky once again cut the lead to 3 at 75-72, but with only seconds to go on the shot clock, they let Robert Hubbs III score in the paint to push lead back to 5. UK coach John Calipari now has a losing record at Thompson-Boiling arena, winning only 3 out of 7 trips to Knoxville.
The Cats were lead in scoring by Malik Monk with 25, Ban Adebayo 21 and De’Aaron Fox with 17. Isaiah Briscoe tossed in 11 and grabbed a team high 14 rebounds.
The Volunteers saw Robert Hubb III lead them in scoring with 25. Admiral Schofield had 15, Grant Williams 13 and Lamonte Turner 10.
Next up for Kentucky are the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday in Rupp Arena.