Strong Second Half Lifts UK Over Vols - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Strong Second Half Lifts UK Over Vols

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 Arena.

Kentucky coach John Calipari wasn't thrilled about having to do

either.

"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 program."

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. tipoff.

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

losing."

 

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