Washington helps No. 18 Kentucky rout No. 22 Tennessee 107-79
Freshman TyTy Washington Jr. scored a career-high 28 points, Sahvir Wheeler returned from injury to add 21 points and No. 18 Kentucky shot a season-high 68% to blow out No. 22 Tennessee 107-79.
The Wildcats rolled the Volunteers on an emotional day that began with news of the death of former Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall at 93. Hall led the program to its fourth national championship in 1978. Kentucky then unleashed its most energetic performance this season. Santiago Vescovi scored 20 points and Kennedy Chandler 17 for Tennessee, which shot 53% but wasn’t close for the final 30 minutes.
From UK Athletics:
Kentucky unleashed its most energetic performance this season before its biggest crowd in a while, an effort helped by the return of point guard Wheeler from a neck injury. The Wildcats made their first
five shots and 22 of 28 by halftime, with their 78.6% shooting tying a program record set in the first half against Mississippi on Jan. 14, 1981 (11 of 14).
Their accuracy held up for nearly 30 minutes before cooling off slightly and finishing 38 of 56 from the field. Kentucky also went 20 for 21 from the foul line to end a two-game home slide against the Volunteers (11-5, 2-3).
Tennessee would likely have won any other game shooting at such a high rate while knocking down 11 of 23 3-pointers. But it kept the Vols close only briefly because they couldn't match Kentucky's intensity, pace or accuracy.
Kentucky was whole again with Wheeler's return, reclaiming its lightning-quick offensive tempo and defensive intensity. But even that couldn't explain the Wildcats' uncanny shooting that appeared as if they were trying to honor the year of Hall's NCAA title.
Tennessee visits in-state rival Vanderbilt on Tuesday night.
Kentucky visits Texas A&M on Wednesday night in a meeting of the SEC's top three teams.