Tennessee defeated Kentucky 76-65 in Knoxville.
Post game comments
From UK Athletics
Final Score: #23/22 Tennessee 76, #17/14 Kentucky 65
Team Records and Series Notes
- Kentucky is 12-3 and had a three game winning streak snapped. Tennessee is 10-4. UK is 2-1 in the SEC. UT improved to 1-2 in the league.
- Kentucky leads the series 153-70, and 54-51 in Knoxville.
o Tennessee has won four of the last five in Knoxville and three in a row.
- Kentucky’s returns to Rupp Arena on Tuesday vs. Texas A&M, Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.
In the First Half
- Kentucky’s starting lineup featured Quade Green, Hamidou Diallo, PJ Washington, Kevin Knox and Nick Richards for the 13th time this season. UK is 9-3 with this lineup.
- Wenyen Gabriel hit a 3-pointer with 12:20 remaining, giving Kentucky 1,028 consecutive games with a 3-pointer.
- UK’s largest lead was by nine, 24-15, at the 7:51 mark.
o From there UT used a 12-4 run over 3:35 to close within a point at 28-27 with 3:33 to play.
- Tennessee got no closer than within one, as Green hit a 3 and then a layup on consecutive possessions to extend UK’s lead.
- Green catalyzed a 9-2 UK run over the last 2:55. The Wildcats held the Vols scoreless over the last 2:13.
- This was the first game Kentucky lost this season after leading at halftime.
In the Second Half
- Tennessee outscored Kentucky 13-4 over the first 2:32 of the second half to take a 42-41 lead, its first since early in the first half.
- Tennessee went on a 10-0 run over 2:45 to take a 54-47 lead at the 11:12 mark.
o At that point UT had outscored UK 25-10 to start the second half.
- Tennessee led by as many as 11 at the 6:18 mark.
- Tennessee outscored Kentucky 47-28 in the second half.
- Tennessee made 12 of 25 3-pointers. UK had limited its last three opponents to 11 of 70 from 3-point range.
- Kentucky grabbed a season-low 30 rebounds.
o Kentucky entered the game with a plus-6 rebounds per game advantage on its opponents’ average (39.9-33.7). Tennessee won rebounding 37-30.
- Kentucky committed 23 fouls tying for the most it’s been charged with in a game this season (vs. Georgia on Dec. 31, 2017).
- Kentucky attempted a season-low 52 field goals.
o Tennessee’s 55 field-goal-attempts tied Virginia Tech for fewest by a UK opponent this season.
- Kentucky’s 65 points were its second fewest this season.
- Tennessee’s 76 points were the third most UK has allowed in a game this season.
- Tennessee went 18 of 22 from the free-throw line. Both outputs were season highs by a UK opponent.
- Tennessee’s 23 assists were the most by a UK opponent this year.
- Quade Green led UK with 14 points. He added four assists while playing a career-high 33 minutes.
- He tied his career high with three made 3s.
- He attempted a season-high 14 field goals and seven 3-pointers.
- PJ Washington scored 13 points in 23 minutes. He had leg cramps and did not play after the 12:33 mark of the second half.
- He was 6 of 8 from the field.
- He had a career-high three steals.
- He also blocked two shots.
- He scored a game-high 11 first-half points. It was his third game scoring 10 or more in a first half, and the second most he’s scored in a first half (he scored 16 vs. Monmouth).
- Wenyen Gabriel was the other Wildcat to finish in double-figures scoring. He finished with 11 points, including a career-high-tying three made 3s, but he fouled out at the 11:58 mark.
- He’s made at least one 3-pointer in seven-consecutive games, the longest such streak for any UK player this season.
- Nick Richards scored nine points and grabbed eight rebounds.
- It was his best output since scoring 10 against Monmouth on Dec. 9, 2017.
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander played a career- and game-high 38 minutes.
- His six assists were a game high, and his second most in a game this year (9 vs. Monmouth).
Coach John Calipari
- Calipari has a 706-196 all-time on-court record.
- Calipari is now 261-56 at Kentucky.
- Calipari is 14-8 vs. Tennessee in his career.
Opening statement: “They out-toughed us. They just threw us around. It was embarrassing. As soon as we had PJ out of the game we had no shot of winning of the game because every one of their players at that point was tougher than our guys and hats off, Rick did a great job. I liked our first half. I thought, OK, we go it and then we come out and I told them after the game: First two plays of the half, you run a guy over that’s standing there? How about you pull up and shoot it and I know you may miss it, but you gotta shoot. Then we throw the lob that goes for the layup down on the other end. I mean, wait a minute. And that was the start of the half and then when PJ couldn’t go it was — we just weren’t — couldn’t do some of the stuff we had planned on doing and they’re not ready to shift in mid-gear.”
On if he’s worried about PJ going forward: “I think he was cramping up.”
On the other Cats after PJ went out: “No they just got manhandled by men. We couldn’t grab a rebound, got stuffed out of the way on post-ups. Guys were coming over and saying, ‘I can guard him.’ He just scored three straight times on you, and-ones. You can’t guard him. I guess you could guard him you just can’t stop him from scoring. Williams was really good, but the rest of them were really good, too. They went after every ball, you know, and you know I knew they would be up against it. I was surprised we were able to do some of the stuff in the first half and I came in at halftime saying OK this is more than I thought we would be able to get up in here. And then the start of the second half and we were literally standing with cheerleaders on a bunch of shots. Shot went up and I’ve got a guy standing next to the cheerleaders. Just got too physical, too much of bump and grind and we just could’t deal with it. We couldn’t make shots out there. We couldn’t make layups, you know, but it’s a lesson for young guys and we move on.”
On if tonight was an example of why he wants Kevin Knox with the big men in drills: “Yeah. Yeah. You saw, he couldn’t bring in balls, all that stuff. He needs to just get it, keep doing it and that part of his game comes around that he’s that guy. Right now, you know, like I said, PJ just went at them. Just was like, that’s it and he was trying to get some other guys to go at them. They do a great job of collapsing. You’ve got to find people when they collapse. We were trying to throw some direct passes and the guys who follow me know we only throw lobs. We don’t throw direct passes and instead of throwing lobs we threw direct passes. We probably did five of those.
“I mean, you know, hats off to them. They had two games, both of the games they lost they could have won, and they needed this game and they went in at halftime and said, ‘That’s it, we’re not losing the game.’ And when PJ went down, they saw the wounded animal and they went right at it. They just said, ‘No.’ How about offensive rebounds on free throws? How about the ball squirts out and we got two guys around it and they reach a hand in and jerk it out? It’s a great lesson. In this game, if one team wants it more than the other and is willing to play that way, you’re losing the game. That team’s going to win. And a lot of times it’s — that’s what I want my team to be. For a half, we looked OK and second half, we didn’t look too good.”
On sticking with zone when UT scored on it repeatedly: [Shrugging] “I mean, if you had something else I could’ve played, I would’ve played that, too. [Shrugs] And even then, they threw and threw to a guy standing [under the basket], who pushed my man out of the way and an and-one. What? And then another play we’re standing there and they lob the ball and my guy watches them tip it in. What? So we could’ve played man and been just as bad.”
On the reason he got for his technical: “He said I was out of the box, which you’d have to look and see, but I wasn’t. The box in front of my bench, not the 40-foot one. I was back. I don’t know. He called it on [Rick Barnes] and then he called one on me. I’m like, ‘Why’d you call it on me?’ Then I asked them, ‘Go back to the tape. Can you check it?’ And they said they’re not allowed to.”
On PJ vs. Grant Williams: “Yeah, yeah. PJ scored on him and was able to [defend him]. But he cramped up and that was the end of it.”
On SGA’s three good games, dud tonight: “Again, wasn’t throwing lobs, throwing some direct passes, they were physical and up in him. But I’m not worried about Shai. Shai’s fine. He’ll be all right. I’ve got a toughness issue [with others] because people, what they do is watch tape and they say, ‘Just throw these guys around. They will not fight you back. Just throw them and post them hard and go right at them — don’t fade away — and if a shot goes up, go bum rush them and rebound a missed shot. They’re going to let you run by them.’
“That’s something they’re going to see on tape and it’s something we’ve got to fix day to day. And that’s all it is: It’s a day-to-day thing, it’s a process with these guys. And I hate to say it: Sometimes you gotta get hit in the mouth to learn. Now the question is: Do they understand what just happened to them, and I believe they do.”
On if he felt like he had to put Gabriel in early second half with four fouls because Washington was out: “Yeah. I was trying to survive. Come on, man. You saw I was playing the other guys and it was like basket, basket, basket. We were like trying to survive. I wish he wouldn’t have fouled, but …”
On what changed in the second half …
“Basketball is a game of runs and obviously we made a good run in the first half. We came out really excited, but second half they made their run and I don’t think we came out with an answer for that.”
On foul trouble …
“Foul trouble? I fouled out early in the second half. Hami (Diallo) was playing with four fouls and PJ (Washington) cramped up, so it was hard for us to get back into our groove. But it’s a long season and we gotta put this game behind us, learn from it. It’s a tough league right now, so we gotta learn from this.”
On what a young team can learn from this …
“I think we can learn the importance of fighting. I think that we kind of let up in the second half and might have got complacent from what we did in the first half. It was kind of tough without PJ in there in the second half to battle with No. 2 over there (Grant Williams), but that’s when we need other guys to step up and fight. I think when we watch the tape of this game, we’re going to learn the importance of that, especially road games in environments like this.”
On how much Washington got into the matchup with Williams …
“He really got into it. I think he took it personal, especially in the first half. He was fighting. PJ got hot and we just kept going back at PJ. I like how—I think he held him to—I don’t know, was it two points, zero points in the first half? I know he took a lot of pride in that. I think he ended with 18. I know that hurt PJ personally.”
On whether it was tough to sit and watch to close the game …
“It’s definitely—it’s really tough. Watching it, I was trying to still feed off the bench, trying to keep giving energy. Obviously when you’re in foul trouble, I should have played smarter, should have kept my hands off. Fouling out with 12 minutes left, I think, is not a good look right there, especially as the vet.”