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(Tuesday, January 15)
Final Score: Kentucky 75, Tennessee 65
Lexington, KY (Sports Network) - Kyle Wiltjer scored 17 points, leading four players in double figures, as the Kentucky Wildcats avoided back-to-back conference losses at home as they topped the Tennessee Volunteers, 75-65, in SEC action at Rupp Arena.
Nerlens Noel, who was held scoreless in the first half, again filled out his stat line with 12 points, nine rebounds, six blocked shots and four steals for the Wildcats (11-5, 2-1 SEC) as they bounced back from their 83-71 setback to Texas A&M over the weekend.
Ryan Harrow accounted for 12 points and Alex Poythress 10 and eight boards for Kentucky as well.
The Volunteers (8-7, 0-3) were paced by Jordan McRae who finished with a game- high 23 points on 8-of-18 shooting from the floor as the squad bowed for the fourth time in as many games.
Tennessee shot an impressive 56.0 percent from the floor in the first half, thanks mostly to McRae who tallied 11 points, but the team failed to make a single trip to the free-throw line, which is one of the reasons why Kentucky was able to post a 34-31 advantage at the break.
In the second half a jumper by McRae at the 10:37 mark tied the meeting at 47-47 and while the Vols were able to move in front by a point on a 3-pointer by Derek Reese with 7:19 remaining, the advantage didn't last very long.
A major turning point in the period took place when Yemi Makanjuola picked up his fifth personal foul less than a minute later, which meant his presence in the paint would no longer keep the Wildcats from attacking the rim. Slowly but surely the hosts pulled away as they captured the double-digit win.
Kentucky shot 49.0 percent from the floor for the night, although the team's 19-of-31 showing at the charity stripe was still a concern.
01/15 21:58:35 ET
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