The Kentucky Wildcats have their first top 25 win of the season after thrashing the No. 22 Tennessee Volunteers 107-79. It came as the team was honoring the late Joe B. Hall, who passed away at 93 years old early Saturday morning.
The No. 18 Wildcats are now 14-3 overall and 4-1 in SEC. They also got off to a fast start to what’s part of a tough five-game stretch, which continues next week with road games at 15-2 Texas A&M and 16-1 Auburn.
Now, here are the postgame notes and milestones via UK Athletics.
Team Records, Series Notes, Etc.
- Kentucky won its third consecutive game and its seventh in the last eight games to move to 14-3 on the season and 4-1 in the Southeastern Conference. Tennessee is now 11-5, 2-3 in the league.
- Today’s game marked the beginning of a five-game stretch against teams that entered today with a combined record of 64-13.
- The Wildcats improved to 158-75 all-time vs. its most-played opponent, including 93-19 in games played in Lexington, Kentucky.
- UK has won back-to-back games vs. Tennessee for the first time since winning in the 2018 SEC Tournament and the first meeting between the two schools in the 2019-20 season.
- Kentucky snapped a two-game skid vs. Tennessee in Rupp Arena.
- The Wildcats travel to Tennessee on Feb. 15. The two schools have split the last three regular-season series and five of the last six.
- The 28-point margin of victory was the largest for the Wildcats vs. Tennessee since a 29-point victory (74-45) in the 2010 SEC Tournament.
- The announced attendance at Rupp Arena on Saturday was 20,278, a season best.
- Next up: Kentucky has two road games next week, starting Wednesday at Texas A&M. That game will be televised by SEC Network at 8:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. CT in Bryan-College Station).
- Kentucky improved to 12-0 at home this season and extended its Rupp Arena winning streak, which dates back to last season, to 13 games.
- Kentucky scored 107 points, second time to reach the century mark this season, and most since tallying 107 vs. Illinois-Chicago on Nov. 26, 2017.
- The point total is even more remarkable considering the quality of opponent, as Tennessee entered today No. 2 in the nation in defensive efficiency according to KenPom.
- It’s also the first time any team has scored 100 points vs. Tennessee in 15 years, since the 2006-07 season.
- It’s the first time UK has reached 100 vs. Tennessee since 2001.
- It’s the most for Kentucky against an Associated Press Top-25 ranked team since scoring 107 points against Vanderbilt on Jan. 4, 1994.
- Kentucky scored on 46 of 69 possessions for 1.55 points per possession, a season high.
- All 14 of Kentucky’s wins this season have been by double figures.
- UK won the rebounding today, 25-24. UK is 14-1 this season when winning the boardwork.
- Kentucky forced 20 turnovers today, second-most of the season, and won points off turnovers 32-11.
- UK made 38 of 56 from the floor, 67.9% percent – the highest of the Coach Calipari era.
- The previous best under Calipari was 67.7% vs. LIU Brooklyn on Nov. 23, 2012.
- It’s the team’s ninth game making at least half of its shots this season, including the third in a row. The Wildcats are 9-0 in those games.
- Kentucky has shot 50% or better in six of the last eight games.
- Kentucky made a season-high 61.1% from three-point range, 11 of 18.
- Kentucky is only the second team in the nation this season to shoot at least 65 percent from the field and 60 percent on 3-pointers, also UMBC vs. American.
- Kentucky made 20 of 21 free throws, 95.9%. Had the Cats made them all, it would have been a school record for most free throws made in a game without a miss.
- Kentucky led by as many as 32 points in the second half. The Wildcats are 300-12 under Calipari when leading by at least 10 points during the game.
- Kentucky had 19 assists today and is 9-0 this season when totaling at least 16.
- Kentucky won fast break points, 27-1.
- TyTy Washington Jr. led all scorers with a career-high 28 points to go along with five assists and three steals.
- He was 10 of 13 from the floor and hit 6 of 6 free throws, a career high in that category.
- He has made his first shot of the game in 11 straight contests.
- It was his 13th game in double-figure scoring, including six of the last seven.
- It was also his fourth 20-point game.
- He is averaging 16.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.9 assists while shooting 56% in UK’s 14 wins.
- He has dished out 61 assists, 6.1 per game, over the last 10 contests.
- Oscar Tshiebwe totaled nine points, a game-high 12 rebounds, and tied his career high of three steals.
- The nation’s leading rebounder has grabbed double-figure boards in all but two games this season.
- Kellan Grady sparked the Wildcats from 3-point range with four treys (on seven attempts) to finish with 16 points.
- He has scored eight or more points in 10 straight games and is averaging 14.9 over the last eight games.
- Despite making 2 of 10 from 3-point range over the previous two games, he has made 30 of 60 (50% percent) over the last eight contests and is shooting 45.7 from long range on the season.
- Sahvir Wheeler, who missed the last two games with a neck injury he suffered at LSU, had an impressive return with 21 points and a game-high eight assists.
- Entering Saturday ranked third nationally in assists per game (7.3), he recorded his second 20-point game this season and eighth game with at least eight assists.
- Davion Mintz stayed red-hot with 10 points and two assists in 20:48 of action.
- Mintz made 2 of 3 from 3-point range and is 13 of 23 (56.5 percent) from behind the 3-point line over the last four games.
- He is averaging 12.8 points per game over the last five contests.
- John Calipari is now 353-96 at UK.
- Calipari is now two wins short of career win No. 800 and has a 798-236 all-time on-court record.
- Calipari notched his 200th career victory inside Rupp Arena as Kentucky’s head coach in his 217th game.
- UK is 65-40 under Calipari’s watch vs. Associated Press Top 25 opponents.
- Calipari is 87-60 in his career when both teams are ranked in the AP Top 25 and 56-32 at UK.
- Calipari is now 19-13 in his career vs. Tennessee, including 15-10 at Kentucky.
- Calipari has tallied a 371-117 all-time record within conference play as a head coach and owns a 163-51 record since joining the SEC.
In the First Half
- After a two-game absence due to a neck injury suffered in the LSU game, Sahvir Wheeler returned to the starting lineup alongside TyTy Washington Jr., Kellan Grady, Keion Brooks Jr. and Oscar Tshiebwe. UK is 11-3 with that starting lineup this season.
- Honoring the late Joe B. Hall, who led Kentucky to the national championship in 1978 as UK’s head coach and died on Saturday morning, the Wildcats opened the game in Hall’s famous 1-3-1 zone defense. Calipari also had Hall’s trademark rolled-up program in hand.
- Tennessee scored on that opening possession, but the Wildcats came out with some kind of fire often seen from Hall’s teams. UK scored 12 of the next 15 points before the first media timeout, including eight straight over a two-minute period to take a 12-5 lead going into the 15:45 timeout.
- Grady made back-to-back 3-pointers to highlight the run.
- Washington made the game’s opening bucket for the fourth time in the last five games. He has also hit his first shot attempt in 11 straight games.
- Davion Mintz and Jacob Toppin were the Wildcats’ first subs at the 14:32 mark.
- UK hit 16 of its first 21 shots and 3 of 5 from 3-point range to take a 39-30 lead.
- Mintz’s first 3 of the game and his third make from the field in three tries forced UT to call timeout with 4:59 left in the half.
- Tennessee stuck around by making 13 of 22 to start the game and 6 of 10 from 3.
- Kentucky led 52-38 at halftime and is now 14-1 when leading at the half this season.
- The Wildcats shot a blistering 78.6% (22 of 28) from the floor, their best shooting half of the season and the best in any half since shooting 84.2% (16 of 19) vs. Alabama on March 10 of the 2018 SEC Tournament.
- It was the first time Kentucky shot 70% or better in a half since making 73.9% (17 of 23) at LSU on Feb. 18, 2020.
- UK’s 52 points tied a season high, which was done just two games ago in the win vs. Georgia.
- The Wildcats posted 1.576 points per possession.
- Four Wildcats scored seven or more points, led by Washington with 14 points and three assists.
- Grady scored nine points on 3-of-4 3-point shooting, Wheeler had eight points and three assists, Mintz scored seven on 3-of-3 shooting, and Tshiebwe had six points and six boards.
In the Second Half
- Kentucky began the second half with the same starting five of Wheeler, Washington, Grady, Brooks and Tshiebwe.
- The Wildcats did not let up to begin the second half. UK outscored Tennessee 15-7 out of the locker room. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Grady and Washington (Grady’s was a four-point play after a foul and free throw) forced UT to call timeout as the Wildcats took a 67-45 lead with 16:24 left.
- UK really broke the game open with a 12-0 run to go up 81-50 with 12:11 left in the game. Wheeler and Mintz each hit treys during the run.
- Kentucky’s largest lead was 32 points at 89-57 with 8:18 remaining.
- Washington split his points evenly with 14 in each half and Wheeler had 13 in the second stanza.