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Wildcats claw their way past #19 Vols, 70-55

Kentucky denies Tennessee third straight win in series
(WVLT)
Published: Feb. 20, 2021 at 12:53 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The 19th-ranked Tennessee basketball team returns to action for a Saturday SEC showdown against border rival Kentucky. The game is taking place on WVLT and CBS. The Vols are looking for the regular season sweep of the cats after beating Kentucky 82-71 back on February 6th at Rupp Arena. Freshmen Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer combined for 50 points in the come from behind win for Tennessee.

Last time out, Tennessee rolled past South Carolina, 93-73, on Wednesday night. The Vols were led by an electrifying 29-point performance from junior Victor Bailey Jr.. Bailey converted on 9-of-16 attempts from the field and drained seven shots from 3-point range (tying the Barnes era record).

A victory on Saturday would mark the Vols seventh win over Kentucky in their last 10 tries and would give Tennessee its first home-and-home series sweep of the Wildcats since 2018.

1ST HALF

Physical start and you knew it would be for the Vols and Cats at Thompson-Boling Arena. Victor Bailey Jr., who scored 29 against Georgia started off the scoring for Tennessee with a 3-pointer. A 3-pointer by guard Davion Mintz, who had 18 points in the win over Vandy Wednesday night, has given the cats an 8-7 lead at the first media timeout.

Kentucky has tightened the screws on defense. UT shooting just 26% so far. Mintz has two 3′s for the Cats who have opened up an 18-10 lead at TBA with 11:28 to play in the half.

Tennessee looks a bit tentative on the offensive end so far. Kentucky very much the aggressor including on a monster dunk by Jacob Toppin off an inbounds pass. And no answer for Mintz who has four 3′s for the Cats who lead 26-14 at the 7:54 mark of the 1st half.

Kentucky has been a team on the move today. Cats have 12 fastbreak points to just 3 for Tennessee. UK extends lead to 15 points at 34-19 with 4:30 To go in the half.

Kentucky leads #19 Tennessee at the half 45-30. Vols need to find an answer for Davion Mintz, who’s hit five 3-pointers. The Cats also have 14 fastbreak points certainly keeping the Vols on their heels. UT shooting 36% from the field and has 8 turnovers at the half.

2ND HALF

Olivier Sarr gave UK a spark to start the 2nd half as the Cats built a 19 point 49-30 lead and still lead by that margin at the first media timeout, 53-34. Vols continue to struggle from the field 5-12 from beyond the arc.

An Olivier Sarr jump hook with 12:12 to go gives visiting Kentucky its biggest lead of the game at 58-38. Vols have gone cold on the offensive end shooting just 33% Only two players in double figures, Bailey with 12 and Johnson 11 against a suffocating UK Defense today.

An Olivier Sarr jump hook with 12:12 to go gives visiting Kentucky its biggest lead of the game at 58-38. Vols have gone cold on the offensive end shooting just 33% Only two players in double figures, Bailey with 12 and Johnson 11 against a suffocating UK Defense today.

Kentucky just continues to be the more physical and aggressive team extending its lead back to 20 points at 66-46 with just 3:49 to play. Cats also winning the battle of the boards at 38-29. UT just 5-20 from beyond d the arc while the Cats have hit 7-3′s.

Wildcats deny Tennessee a third straight win in the series and enacts a bit of revenge after losing to the Vols at Rupp on February 6th, clawing their way by the Big Orange 70-to-55. Kentucky outworks UT on the boards 43-31 and holds the Vols to just to just 32% shooting. The Vols were cold from beyond the arc connecting on just 6 of 20 3-pointers. The Cats with a better percentage from deep hitting 7 of 14 three’s, for a 50% average.

The Vols fall to 16-6 overall and 8-6 in league play with a game at Vanderbilt st for Wednesday night at 9pm.

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