Kentucky completed dominated the Volunteers in the second half to earn a victory over the No. 1 team in America for the first time since the Cats ended Ohio State’s season in the 2011 Sweet 16.
P.J. Washington opened the game by scoring the Cats’ first seven points. Keldon Johnson hit four* three-pointers in a row (his foot was on the line for the first) to help UK build up a six-point halftime lead.
Kentucky sprinted out of the halftime locker room, opening the second half on a 14-0 run in the first three minutes to take a 20-point lead. 24,467 UK fans, the third-most in Rupp Arena history, made sure that lead was never in question.
The Vols showed a little life. After scoring just five points in the first seven minutes of the second half, Tennessee found a spark by switching to a 1-2-2 press and a 2-3 zone. The change of pace forced fast UK shots and ignited a 13-0 Tennessee run in only two minutes of of action. In spite of the run, Kentucky never lost a double-digit lead.
P.J. Washington finished with 23 points, the seventh time in eight games P.J. has scored 20 points or more. Keldon Johnson scored 19 points, Ashton Hagans dealt out seven assists and Tyler Herro grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds.
After falling to LSU in a heartbreaker, the 86-69 win over top-ranked Tennessee is exactly what the doctor prescribed.