KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The No. 19 Tennessee basketball team fell to Kentucky, 70-55, in a tough afternoon affair Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Tennessee (15-6, 8-6 SEC) was plagued by a difficult day of shooting from the field, knocking down just 18 of its 56 attempts, while Kentucky (8-13, 7-7 SEC) connected on 50 percent (7-14) of its attempts from 3-point range.
Vols guard Victor Bailey Jr. led the Vols in scoring—for the second consecutive game and for the seventh time this season—with 18 points on 5-of-10 shooting. He was 4-of-8 from the 3-point range.
Freshman Keon Johnson closed the day with 15 points, a season-high-tying five assists, three rebounds, one block and a steal.
Senior Yves Pons was the third Vol to score in double-figures, as he finished with 10 points, three blocks and a pair of steals.
Fellow senior John Fulkerson led the Vols in rebounds, grabbing seven boards Saturday.
Kentucky held control through the entirety of the first half, building a lead as large as 17 while knocking down more than 60 percent of its attempts from the field and shooting 6-of-9 from behind the 3-point arc.
Holding a 45-30 lead out of the locker room, Kentucky continued to pressure the Vols, increasing its lead to 20 during the first 10 minutes of the second half.
The Wildcats held steady over the afternoon’s final stages, responding to each of Tennessee’s attempts to rally. The Vols held the Wildcats to 21 percent shooting in the second half, but Kentucky consistently got to the free-throw line, where it shot 85 percent in the game (17 of 20).
Up Next: The Vols hit the road this week for a Wednesday night encounter with in-state foe Vanderbilt. Tipoff from Memorial Gym is slated for 9 p.m. ET on SEC Network.