Kentucky loses to Tennessee at home, giving Tennessee the sweep for the season


Kentucky freshman guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander fights for the ball during the game against Tennessee at Rupp Arena on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Phillip Hawkins

It was a rough game for the Kentucky Wildcats as they have now dropped back-to-back games, most recently against the Tennessee Volunteers, 61-59. The Cats were led by Quade Green, who finished the game with 15 points and went 2-3 from three and 6-10 from the field. Despite the solid play from Green, it was a tough shooting night for the Cats.

In the first half, Kentucky twice went four-plus minutes without a made field goal. Despite only shooting 8-21 in the first half, the Cats were only down 26-27. On top of their shooting, they also had problems with turnovers. In the first half, Kentucky eight turnovers while Tennessee had six.  The Cats finished the game with 14 turnovers.

The focus for Kentucky Tuesday night seemed to be utilizing its post players.  Despite Tennessee being undersized, it seemed like head coach John Calipari wanted to pound the ball inside to the big men. It was big men PJ Washington and Nick Richards who were crucial for the Cats. Richards finished the game with five points and eight rebounds, which led the team. In order for Kentucky to be ready come March, the Cats will need Richards and Washington to continue to play big.

The Vols were led by a handful of guys, with Lamonte Turner as the leading scorer. Turner shot 3-6 from three and ended the game with 16 points, which was a game high. Not far behind were Admiral Schofield, Kyle Alexander and Grant Williams. Alexander finished with six points and four boards, Schofield with 12 points and five rebounds, and Williams with 10 points.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was one of the players who almost helped Kentucky pull off the win. He finished with 15 points and six rebounds, which was second best on the team, and six assists, which was a team high. As his draft stock continues to improve, the team will need him to keep playing at an elite level.

It was rough first half for freshmen Kevin Knox and Hamidou Diallo. Knox ended the game with 10 points on just 3-11 shooting. Diallo really struggled in a big game like this and went the entire game without scoring on just three shot attempts. The Cats will need a lot from these two players if they want to make it far in the tournament.

After the loss, Kentucky’s record falls to 17-7 on the season and 7-5 in conference play, while Tennessee’s record is now 18-5 and 8-3 in SEC play. The Cats’ next game will be on the road at Texas A&M.