Kentucky vs. Tennessee: Wildcats Hang on Against Volunteers for 75-65 Win

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Kentucky vs. Tennessee: Wildcats Hang on Against Volunteers for 75-65 Win
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

As has been the habit lately, the University of Kentucky Wildcats got out to a decent lead in the second half against their opponent only to let the Tennessee Volunteers come back and almost take the game from them.

But fortunately for John Calipari's young squad, Julius Mays broke out of his slump and Kyle Wiltjer found his offensive rhythms to help UK get its second conference win.

 

The Good

  • Like I mentioned above, Kyle Wiltjer was able to come off the bench and give the Cats a huge lift offensively. He lead the team in scoring with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Wiltjer also made some nice moves in the paint, showing that he can score in other ways besides outside jump shots (we'll give him a break on being a defensive liability for tonight).
  • Julius Mays didn't score much, but he picked a great time to FINALLY break out of his shooting slump, hitting two threes late to help secure the win for the Cats. Mays ended up with nine points on 3-of-5 shooting.
  • Nerlens Noel had his usual great and balanced stat line: 12 points, 9 rebounds, four steals, six blocks. He was also the emotional leader on the floor in the second half for the Wildcats, urging on his teammates to continue attacking instead of giving the game away to the Volunteers.
  • Ryan Harrow wasn't as spectacular on offense as he has been of late (12 points on 3-of-9 shooting), but he, once again, did a great job of ball protection/distribution, ending up with four assists against zero turnovers.

 

The Bad

  • Kentucky is forming a very bad habit of allowing teams back into the game midway through the second half after building a lead. The Wildcats held a 47-39 lead with 13:39 to go in the game and looked like they were completely in control of the outcome. That's when the Volunteers went on an 8-0 run to tie the game with 10:35 left.
  • One again, free-throw shooting was terrible. Kentucky was 19-31 from the line (61.9 percent).
  • Archie Goodwin, who at one point looked like this team's go-to scorer, struggled once again, scoring eight points on 2-of-10 shooting before fouling out late in the second half.

 

The Weird

  • Coming into the game, Tennessee was 7-2 against defending national champions (per ESPN game broadcast).
  • Volunteer guard Skylar McBee may have one of the best nicknames in all of college basketball: Captain Mustache.

 

All stats via ESPN.com

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