Jan. 25, 2005
By ELIZABETH A. DAVIS
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Patrick Sparks scored 19 points and Kelenna Azubuike added 17 to lead No. 7 Kentucky to an 84-62 victory over Tennessee on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats (15-2, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) took control with aggressive rebounding on both ends to remain the only undefeated team in league play.
The Volunteers (10-9, 3-3) went ahead twice in the first half, when Kentucky lost top rebounder and second-leading scorer Chuck Hayes, who was hit in the nose. Kentucky officials said at halftime his nose was broken.
But it didn't stop the Wildcats from putting together a decisive 19-5 run before halftime.
After Chris Lofton hit a 3 to put the Vols up 21-20 with 9:21 remaining before halftime, Kentucky hit three straight 3-pointers to start the run. When Azubuike dunked 7 minutes later, the Wildcats went ahead 39-26.
Tennessee missed starting center Brandon Crump, who sprained his left ankle Saturday in an 85-62 loss at Louisville. All he could do was cheer on his teammates from the bench.
But most of the cheering came from the large and loud contingent of Kentucky faithful in the arena.
The Wildcats have won six straight over Tennessee, but their most recent wins in Thompson-Boling Arena have been close. The Vols tried to set up another frantic finish to match last year's overtime game.
Kentucky pushed its lead to 13 points early in the second half, and Tennessee had a short 7-0 run on two layups by C.J. Watson and a 3 by Scooter McFadgon that cut it to 49-43 with 13:50 to go. But the Wildcats reeled off a 15-3 run to put them up 64-46 with 8:44 left, sealing the victory.
Kentucky had 41 rebounds, often getting second and third chances at the basket.
Sparks scored 14 points in the first half and was 4-of-10 from beyond the arc.