KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee had no answer for 15th-ranked Kentucky Saturday, falling to the Wildcats, 77-64, at Thompson-Boling Arena.
In his first-ever taste of the heated border rivalry, freshman Santiago Vescovi led the Vols offensively, tying his career-high for points with 18. Senior Jordan Bowden and junior John Fulkerson both added 16 points for the Big Orange, as Bowden finished with a team-high nine rebounds.
Immanuel Quickley led Kentucky (18-5, 8-2 SEC) with 18 points.
In the first half, UK went on an 8-0 run to build an 11-point lead. The Vols (13-10, 5-5 SEC) responded with their own 5-0 scoring streak to make it a six-point game, 26-20.
The Wildcats hung tough and built on their lead, but Fulkerson closed out the first half with a pair of free throws to cut Kentucky’s halftime lead to seven, 37-30.
At the break, Fulkerson led the Vols with 12 points, eight of which came at the foul line. The junior also recorded four rebounds in the first 20 minutes.
Coming out of the break, Fulkerson scored Tennessee’s first three points of the second half, and Vescovi followed with one of his four 3-pointers of the afternoon.
With just more than nine minutes left in the contest, Vescovi hit his third triple of the half to bring the Vols within four points, but Kentucky had an answer for every charge Tennessee attempted to mount down the stretch.
Le Streak Extends to 23: Tennessee junior Yves Pons finished the game with four blocks, extending his streak of consecutive games with at least one block to 23.
Up Next: Tennessee hosts Arkansas Tuesday night. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. ET at Thompson-Boling Arena, and tickets remain available at AllVols.com.