Kentucky looking for its 31st SEC Tournament Championship and its first win this season against Tennessee.
That was just the beginning UT’s hottest shooting half this season, going 19-of-25 (76 percent) from the field to take a commanding 48-29 lead into halftime.
Daryl Macon scored 19 points to lead the sixth-seeded Razorbacks (23-11), who had won eight of their previous 10 games.
Admiral Schofield has averaged 19.8 points and 5.8 rebounds over the last five games for Tennessee.
The Volunteers swept two regular-season meetings with Kentucky, most recently pulling out a 61-59 victory at Rupp Arena. He proceeded to sting together an impressive rookie campaign en route to registering 13.5 points, 8.2 boards, 1.8 blocks and 1.2 steals per contest.
BONE DOMINATES FIRST HALF: Jordan Bone could not miss from anywhere on the floor during the first half, dropping 17 points on 7-of-7 shooting and 3-of-3 from deep. “The way we won shows we can dig in and hold a lead and withstand another team’s run, especially a great team like that”.
“What you’re seeing right now is these kids have committed to each other”. It looks like they’ve really made a commitment to really play big, strong basketball inside.
Mississippi State guard Nick Weatherspoon suffered a scary injury on Friday, and people were not happy with how the SEC and their referees handled it. Tennessee was picked to finish 13th in the 14-team SEC by the media in the preseason. “That’s one of the teams we hadn’t beat since we’ve been at Tennessee”.
The Wildcats got it going behind the three point line early as Kevin Knox and Hamidou Diallo connected.
A delegation of university officials, high-profile boosters and players’ families sat a few rows behind the Tennessee bench and combined with a smattering of fans to create a small but vocal minority of orange in the midst of a Kentucky blue crowd of 18,973.
Tennessee had an extra day of rest compared to the No. 6 seed Arkansas because the Vols were the SEC Tournament’s No. 2 seed after sharing the conference’s regular-season title with Auburn.
The Vols said they don’t plan to make changes in a third game against Kentucky.
“I’m real, real proud of those guys and what they’ve done up to this point”, Anderson said.
Six more of those and Calipari can watch his team climb another ladder at the end of a much bigger tournament. “I don’t really look at it that much, but I do think any team in this league that plays in the tournament next week has a chance to do a lot of damage”.
Flawless in the SEC tournament and cutting down those nets in St. Louis will require perfection against Kentucky.
When it was over, and sophomore Sacha Killeya-Jones was cradling the SEC Tournament trophy at his locker, he and his teammates were thankful that Sunday wasn’t another blowout.
“Everybody is pretty down right now, but we have a pretty good opportunity to make a run in the NCAA Tournament”, Bone said.
“But I knew and I told them, I’ve been through this before”.