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01/14/2012 5:54 PM EST
No. 2 Kentucky outlasts Tennessee for 65-62 win
KENTUCKY 65, TENNESSEE 62
By BETH RUCKER
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was angry after
he and fellow freshman Anthony Davis didn't get much help from
their Kentucky teammates in the first half against Tennessee. He
made sure the Wildcats knew it at halftime.
"He was the main one who came into the locker room mad," Davis
said. "(He was) really feisty because we weren't playing like we
were supposed to. That's just how he plays. You know he's got a
will to win, and he brings a lot."
His anger inspired the second-ranked Wildcats, who wore the
Volunteers down with more pressing defense and sharper shooting.
Kentucky overcame an eight-point deficit in the second half for
a 65-62 victory Saturday.
The win marked Kentucky's second Southeastern Conference road
victory of the season, matching its total for all last season.
The Wildcats won in Knoxville in 2011 and have won four straight
against the Vols.
Davis finished with 18 points and had four blocks to pull within
one of tying the school season record of 83. Kidd-Gilchrist
added 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Terrence Jones scored 10
points before fouling out with 3:55 to play.
The Wildcats (17-1, 3-0) not only came from behind in the second
half, but also held off a late effort by the Vols, who had upset
then-No. 13 Florida the previous Saturday at Thompson-Boling
Kentucky coach John Calipari wasn't thrilled about having to do
"If we want to be unique and special, we're either going to get
tougher and negate the physical play people are using on us, or
we're just going to be another team out there trying to win as
many as we can. That's it," he said. "We talk better today, but
we still need to execute better."
Davis capped an 8-0 run with a short jumper to give Kentucky a
62-54 lead with 53 seconds left.
Skylar McBee hit a 3-pointer for the Vols. After a timeout,
Jeronne Maymon fouled Kentucky's Doron Lamb, who missed the
front end of a 1-and-1. Cameron Tatum hit another 3 to cut the
Wildcats' margin to 62-60 with 28 seconds left.
Darius Miller hit two free throws and Kidd-Gilchrist added
another in the final 20 seconds. Tatum attempted another 3 with
10 seconds left, but the ball bounced off the rim to end the
Vols' hopes for a comeback.
Tatum led the Volunteers (8-9, 1-2) with 16 points, and Maymon
had 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The Vols also got a boost from Jarnell Stokes, a highly rated
prospect who joined the team Monday after graduating from high
school a semester early. With Stokes joining Maymon and Kenny
Hall on the blocks, Tennessee took its chances by running right
at the nation's leading shot-blocking team and locking down the
lane on defense.
"I thought we were playing defense the way this program will be
accustomed to playing defense: hard, aggressive and physical,"
said Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin, who faced Kentucky for the
first time in his career as a coach or player. "We've still got
a ways to go as far as I'm concerned, but we're making the
necessary strides we need to be a really good defensive
Maymon converted a three-point play with 3:09 in the first half,
and he and Tatum hit 3 of 4 from the free throw line over a
30-second stretch. Stokes drew a charge by Marquis Teague, which
enfuriated Calipari, who was tagged with a technical foul
arguing the call.
Tatum hit one of the free throws awarded to Tennessee, who
retained possession because of the technical. Stokes, who
finished 4 of 5 from the field for nine points, rebounded a
missed shot and hit a layup to give the Vols their 34-28
halftime lead and send the fans into a frenzy.
"Coach really prepared me for it," Stokes said. "I was just
playing for my team and the state of Tennessee. It was
definitely different. There was a lot of adrenaline going, but
that's how I'll continue to play."
The Wildcats, who had only trailed at halftime three times this
season, were more patient with their shots in the second half
and turned up the defensive heat to wear down Tennessee. The
Vols entered the noon game on a quick turnaround, having lost
62-58 at No. 20 Mississippi State on Thursday after a 9 p.m.
Kentucky shot 50 percent in the second half and limited
Tennessee to 39.3 percent. The Wildcats also got their only two
3s of the game in the second half, one by Kyle Wiltjer and
another from Kidd-Gilchrist.
"We have a will to win," Davis said. "We're a great ball club.
You know we never give up. When we are down like 10 with a
couple of minutes left we just kept fighting. We don't like
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