Tennessee loses to Kentucky in SEC tournament

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT.) -- Freshman Jordan Horston poured in a career-high 24 points, but it wasn't enough to fend off a hot-handed #16/18 Kentucky team that shot 51 percent from the floor to seize an 86-65 victory in a No. 3 seed vs. No. 6 seed match-up in the SEC Tournament Third Round on Friday night.

Junior Rennia Davis and senior Lou Brown were also in double figures for Tennessee (21-10), posting 14 and 10 points, respectively.

Kentucky (22-7) was led by Rhyne Howard who finished with 24 points, Tatyana Wyatt with 14 and Sabrina Haines with 12.

Kentucky jumped out to a four-point lead before Rae Burrell drove the baseline for a layup to get UT on the board. Brown then knocked down back-to-back threes to tie the score at eight-all by the 6:37 mark. Howard answered with a three-pointer of her own, but Brown put in a layup on the other end to make the score 11-10 UK at the media break. Kentucky pulled away to 15-10 following the timeout before a Horston trey cut Kentucky's lead to 15-13 with 30 seconds left in the period. Howard drew a foul on the opposite end and hit both free throws to push the score to 17-13 at the end of the first period.

Horston struck again at the start of the second stanza to once again pull UT within two, but the Wildcats came back with an 8-0 run to lead 25-15 just over three minutes in. The teams traded threes following a Tennessee timeout, but UT struggled to score while UK poured in four more points, stretching the lead to 32-18 with 4:30 left in the half. Horston broke the drought for UT with a layup, and Brown followed it up with another to inch within 10 points. The teams traded baskets until Howard knocked down a three and Blair Green scored a layup on a fast break to put Kentucky up 41-26 with 1:15 remaining. Davis knocked down a jumper on the other end, but Howard hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds to stretch the UK halftime lead to 44-28.

Tamari Key hit two free throws to start the second half, but Howard immediately answered with a trey on the other end, setting off a 7-0 UK run. Tennessee scrapped back within 17, but Kentucky got hot offensively, going eight of eight from the floor over a five-minute span to lead 71-46 with 1:25 remaining in the quarter. Horston put in a trey in the final minute to send the game into the last stanza with the score at 71-49.

The fourth quarter was a more even affair, but Tennessee couldn't gain any ground on UK. Horston hit two free throws to move the Lady Vols within 20 to start the period, but despite her and Davis pouring in six points apiece, UT couldn't close the gap, falling 86-65.

Up Next: The Lady Vols will await the reveal of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament bracket on Monday, March 16.

All Around Brown: Redshirt senior Lou Brown pitched in 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds against Kentucky. Additionally, she took her 14th charge of the season, making her season total greater than the entire team's total from the 2019-20 season.

Hot-Handed Horston: Freshman Jordan Horston scored a career-high 24 points against Kentucky, besting her previous high of 20 points at Portland State on Dec. 21. Her previous high score against an SEC opponent was 19 in the match-up with Alabama on Jan. 20.

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