After an 82-80 loss back on January 24th, the Cats came out and took care of business by whipping Tennessee 83-58 on Tuesday. They shot the lights out against the Vols and looked like the team from early in the season, finally!
The talk of the last couple games has been Kentucky’s defense or lack thereof, and tonight the defense started out so-so. Then, they turned on the light switch and turned a 0-5 deficit into a 10-6 lead. Derek Willis came in and knocked down an early three which was encouraging.
Around the 10 minute mark of the first half Kentucky owned a 20-12 lead thanks to three consecutive 3-pointers by Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins. Up to that point in the game, it was a very fun game to watch for everyone With goodgame flow and only five fouls between Kentucky and Tennessee.
Tennessee tried to make a game of it, but Kentucky just destroyed them, and they did from 3-point land. Kentucky was 8-of-14 from deep when there was still 8:09 left in the first half. Kentucky had opened up a 31-15 thanks to the hot shooting.
From there, Kentucky went on cruise control into the half up on Tennessee 47-32. The Cats’ leading scorer was Malik Monk with 16 points, while he leading rebounder was Bam Adebayo with six.
Briscoe came out of the half putting people on spin cycles after sitting most of the first half with two fouls. Kentucky pushed their lead to 59-40 with 14:52 left to play in the game thanks to two quick steals that led to an Derek Willis alley-oop and a Fox layup, and that was effectively the ballgame.
Kentucky just destroyed the Vols, and they did with just about everything; defense, 3-point shooting, ball movement, and confidence. Everyone on the court for the Cats played with confidence, something that Cal has been preaching the last couple days.
Kentucky’s leading scorer was Malik Monk with 20. Rebounding had been a farce for Monk lately, but tonight he also added eight rebounds.
Here are the postgame notes, courtesy of UK Athletics:
Team Records and Series Notes
- Kentucky won its third game in a row and is 21-5 overall, 11-2 in the Southeastern Conference. Tennessee is 14-12, 6-7 in the SEC.
- Kentucky leads the series 153-69, including 92-16 in Lexington.
- Next for Kentucky: the Wildcats begin a two-game road swing Saturday at Georgia. Game time is 6 p.m. and it will be televised on ESPN.
In the First Half
- Kentucky started the lineup of Isaiah Briscoe, De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Wenyen Gabriel and Bam Adebayo for the 18th time this season. UK is 14-4 with this lineup.
- Kentucky took its first lead, 7-6, when Derek Willis’ 3-pointer with 16:03 on the clock extended UK’s streak of 1,001 consecutive games with a triple. The Wildcats never trailed again.
- Willis added two more 3-pointers to make it 20-12, prompting a Tennessee timeout at 10:50.
- UK stretched the run to 18-3, making the score 31-15, prompting another UT timeout at 8:09.
- The teams played evenly the rest of the way and Kentucky went to halftime ahead 47-32. It was the most points for UK in a first half since the South Carolina game on Jan. 21.
- UK made 10 3-pointers in the first half, most in a half this season. The previous best was eight long balls in a half on two occasions.
In the Second Half
- Tennessee pulled within 53-40 – the closest the Volunteers got in the second half – when Fox made two magnificent plays
- A steal that led to a fast-break alley-oop pass for a Willis dunk
- Another steal that he took the length of the court for a layup
- Kentucky led by as many as 28 points en route to the final score of 83-58.
- Kentucky held Tennessee to 58 points, the Volunteers’ fewest of the season.
- UK is 13-0 this season when limiting the opponent to 72 or fewer points.
- Kentucky is 141-5 (.966) under Calipari when limiting the opponent to 63 points or fewer.
- Tennessee shot 34.6 percent from the field. UK is 12-0 this season when limiting the opponent to less than 43 percent.
- Kentucky shot 46.4 percent from the field. UK is 20-1 this season when shooting at least 42 percent.
- Kentucky had 17 assists against only seven turnovers. UK is 20-2 this season when having more assists than turnovers.
- Kentucky won the rebounding for the third straight game, 43-35. UK is 17-3 this season when outrebounding the opponent.
- UK is now 207-4 (.981) under Calipari in games leading by at least 10 points.
- Calipari has a 683-192 (.781) on-court record, including a 238-52 (.821) mark at UK.
- Kentucky has an all-time mark of 559-66 (.894) in Rupp Arena.
- UK has won 46 consecutive games in Rupp Arena vs. unranked opponents.
- UK is 132-6 (.957) at Rupp Arena under John Calipari.