Tennessee Upsets No. 2 Kentucky in Knoxville 74-65

Derek PooreContributor IFebruary 27, 2010

DAYTON, OH - MARCH 20: Tyler Smith #1 of the Tennessee Volunteers reacts with teammates Scotty Hopson #32 and Cameron Tatum #23 after a play against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the first round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the University of Dayton Arena on March 20, 2009 in Dayton, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

We now know what would happen if No. 2 Kentucky found itself in a deep hole.

We also know Tennessee is a legitimate NCAA Tournament team, as if it were really in doubt.

J.P. Prince had 20 points, Scotty Hopson added 15 and No. 19 Tennessee, which led by as many as 19 points, beat No. 2 Kentucky 74-65 at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn.

College basketball fans have oft-wondered what would happen if the three Wildcat freshman starters found themselves down big. Could they stage a comeback or would their inexperience show? Kentucky last trailed at halftime against Georgia in early January 35-34. Tennessee led 49-20 at the half.

Kentucky (27-2, 12-2 Southeastern Conference) tied the game at 65 with less than three minutes left but the Volunteers (21-7, 9-5 SEC) refused to let the Wildcats take the lead.

Tennessee finished the game on a 9-0 run to seal its second win over a top-2 opponent at home this season. The Vols handed No. 1 Kansas its first defeat of the season earlier in the year.

John Wall was limited to eight points in the first half, but turned up dribble penetration in the second half, scoring nine points during a key seven-minute Wildcat run that nearly negated the 18-0 run that Tennessee used to go up big in the first half. Wall finished with 19 points, six assists and five rebounds.

On a day when the Wildcats left its jump shot in Lexington, sophomore Darius Miller scored with jumpers on three possessions with less than eight minutes left in the second half. He finished with seven points and UK shot 2-for-22 from 3-point range.

DeMarcus Cousins, who eclipsed the all-time Kentucky freshman scoring record held by Rex Chapman, was a near-sharpshooter from the free throw line, connecting on 7-of-9. Cousins took an outlet pass with just under three minutes to cut the Volunteers lead to 65-63. Cousins finished with 15 points and 14 boards.

After an empty possession by the Vols, Wall found Cousins for another dunk to tie the game 65-65. UK would not score again.

Tennessee had not beaten Kentucky since March 2008.
Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl has won 90 percent of his home games since taking over in Knoxville.
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