Tennessee Athletics Department
Knoxville, TN – Tennessee earned its first win over a top-5 ranked opponent since 2010 with an 82-80 victory over No. 4 Kentucky on Tuesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Volunteers last win over a top-5 team came on December 11th, 2010 when UT defeated No. 3 Pittsburgh, 83-76.
The win also marked the first over a ranked opponent this season for the Volunteers after losing their previous five against ranked foes.UT has now defeated the Wildcats in their last two visits to Knoxville after securing an 84-77 victory at TBA last year.Tennessee put forth one of its most complete performances of the year on both ends of the floor. The Vols scored the third most points of any of UK’s opponents this season while shooting 47 percent from the field (30-for-64) and held the Wildcats to their third lowest point total of the year.
The Big Orange came up big on the defensive end all night long, holding the Wildcats to 12 points under their season average. Tennessee also held Kentucky to 42 percent shooting, well below their season average of nearly 50 percent.
The trio of Robert Hubbs III, Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams led the Vols throughout the night with 25, 15 and 13 points, respectively. Hubbs’ 25 points were tied with UK’s Malik Monk for a game high. Williams did a little bit of everything for the Vols, setting career highs with six assists and three steals while also pouring in 13 points, grabbing six rebounds and posting four blocks.
After a back-and-forth start to the game, UT grabbed a 31-30 lead with 4:19 to play in the first half and never trailed the remainder of the evening. The Tennessee bench played a huge part in the win, outscoring Kentucky’s, 37-4.
Hubbs led all scorers with 15 points in the first half of play that saw UT head to the locker room with a 39-34 advantage. The Tennessee native followed a Lamonte Turner three with an emphatic dunk to give the Vols a seven-point lead, their largest of the first half, with 59 seconds left.
Tennessee was stout defensively and exhibited some hot 3-point shooting en route to its five-point halftime lead. The Vols held the Wildcats to just 34 percent shooting in the opening stanza and did not allow a field goal for the final 4:28 of the half. The Big Orange were also 4-of-6 from long range in the first 20 minutes and held a 19-4 edge in bench points.
Monk lead four Wildcats in double figures with 25 points. Bam Adebayo added 21, De’Aaron Fox had 17 and Isaiah Briscoe chipped in 11 while also pulling down 14 rebounds for the only double-double of the game.
Success vs. Kentucky
The Vols continued to be a thorn in Kentucky’s side, posting their second consecutive win over the Wildcats at home. With the win, Tennessee earned its 69th win over the Wildcats in program history, more than any other opponent UK has faced. Tonight’s win was also the 19th time that an unranked UT squad defeated a ranked Kentucky team.
Hubbs Leading The Way
Hubbs led all scorers with 25 points, which was tied for the second most in a game for him this season. The senior also grabbed seven rebounds and had two assists on the night while leading the Vols to victory.
Lock Down Defense
Tennessee’s defense played a major role in its upset win over the Wildcats. UT held Kentucky well below its season averages in points and field-goal percentage and also limited the Wildcats from 3-point range (6-for-24).
Bench Comes Up Big
The UT bench proved to be a major difference maker in the win, outscoring the UK bench by 33 points (37-4).
Up Next for UT Vols
Tennessee finishes its three-game homestand on Saturday with its final non-conference game of the regular season. The Vols host Kansas State at 2:00pm as part of the SEC /Big 12 Challenge Presented by Sonic. The game will be televised on ESPN2.