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(Saturday, February 16th)
Final Score: Tennessee 88, (25) Kentucky 58
Knoxville, TN (Sports Network) - Trae Golden poured in a game-high 24 points and dished out eight assists to lead Tennessee to an 88-58 rout of No. 25 Kentucky at Thompson-Boiling Arena.
Jordan McRae scored 15 points and Kenny Hall added 12 for the Volunteers (14-10, 6-6 SEC), winners in three straight and five of their last seven overall.
"Guys did a good job of competing from start to finish," Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin said of his team. "Just a tremendous effort from both ends of the floor. I think in the last three games this is the Tennessee team I am accustomed to seeing."
Kyle Wiltjer replaced Nerlens Noel, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Tuesday's loss to Florida, in the starting lineup and scored a team-high 18 points, but the Wildcats (17-8, 8-4) were clearly missing the defensive presence Noel provided inside.
"This was a hard game to begin with," Kentucky coach John Calipari said of playing without Noel. "We are still trying to learn how we are going to play offensively and what we are going to do defensively."
Kentucky was outrebounded by a 39-21 margin and was outscored 40-22 in the paint.
Julius Mays scored 12 points and Jarrod Polson added 11 points in the setback.
Tennessee missed its first seven shots of the game, but heated up quickly.
Alex Poythress' layup with just over three minutes played in the first half tied the game at 7-7, but the Volunteers exploded for a 26-5 run to take a 33-12 lead at the 9:49 mark.
Tennessee kept its foot on the gas, pushing the lead to 48-22 following a McRae dunk, and the Vols led 50-26 at the break.
Golden's basket in the opening minute of the second half sparked a 16-6 run that pushed Tennessee's advantage to 66-32, and the Wildcats never got closer than 26 the rest of the way.
Kentucky holds a 149-67 advantage in the all-time series ... With the win, Tennessee has won five straight home games against the defending national champions (Connecticut twice, Florida twice) ... The Vols were 29-for-50 from the field and went 5-for-5 from 3-point range ... Tennessee's bench outscored Kentucky's reserves, 30-8 .... Kentucky shot just 35.8 percent (19-for-53) from the field.
02/16 20:17:59 ET
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