Vols Dominate No. 25 Kentucky, 88-58

Feb. 16, 2013

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Feb. 16, 2013

KNOXVILLE Tenn. -- Tennessee posted its largest win ever against Kentucky with a 88-58 dismantling of the defending national champions before a sold-out Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday.

Tennessee (14-10 overall) won its third game in a row and evened its record in the SEC at 6-6. Kentucky, playing without freshman standout Nerlens Noel, fell to 17-8 overall and 8-4 in the league.

Junior guard Trae Golden poured in SEC career-high with 24 and handed out eight assists without a turnover. Golden was 11-of-12 from the foul line. Junior Jordan McRae scored 15 and Kenny Hall, who sat out last game, returned with 12 points.

Sophomore Jarnell Stokes fell short of his seventh consecutive double-double as he finished with nine points and nine rebounds.

The previous largest of victory in the series with Kentucky, which dates to 1910, was a 28-point win, 87-59 on Jan. 22, 1968.

For Kentucky head coach John Calipari, the game marked the largest loss of his college coaching career since his first season as a head coach at UMass in 1988-89. The largest loss of Calipari's career came in an 88-55 defeat (33 points) on Feb. 16, 1989. He also lost by 31 and 30 that season.

The Vols beat a defending national champion for the eighth time in 11 games.

Trae Golden proved to be the biggest difference from Tennessee's 75-65 loss to Kentucky in Lexington to its 88-58 home win over the Wildcats

Not only did Golden finish the game with the most points from either team, 24 on six shots in eight attempts, the point guard ran the offense to near perfection and finished with eight assists, also the most from either team.

"I was just trying to be aggressive and play my game against a good opponent," Golden said. "I just wanted to trust my instincts and not try and force anything. For me going down the stretch, I just need to focus on playing the way I know I can."

Golden helped contribute to UT's 5-for-5 night from behind the 3-point line. The junior hit the only 3-point shot he attempted for the game, but he assisted on three of the other four 3-pointers from the Vols.

Fifteen minutes to go in the second half, Golden drove towards the paint and passed it back to an open Skylar McBee in the right corner. McBee then hit UT's only attempted 3-pointer in the second to put the Vols up by 31.

Golden continually attacked the basket and Kentucky's interior defense, and he either made his layups or found an open Vol for a better shot. When Golden did get to the free-throw line, he made sure to take advantage of the opportunity, going 11-for-12 from the charity stripe.

"He played real well," former roommate and teammate Jordan McRae said. "He led the team and was just a flat-out mismatch the whole night. He brought it today."

With only a couple seconds left in the first half, Golden drove to the basket and brought two defenders to him in the paint, and then, he dished it over his shoulder to a wide-open Kenny Hall, who slammed down the easy dunk.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound guard, who has been battling minor injuries all season long, missed two games after tweaking his right hamstring in a last-second win against Vanderbilt on Jan. 29, 2013. On Feb. 10, Golden returned to the rotation against South Carolina and added 16 points in a UT victory.

"I feel good right now," Golden said. "My hamstrings around 80 percent, but I'm just happy we were able to get the win. That's what I feel the best about."

Golden, who only played 29 minutes, exited the game for the last time after a media timeout when backup point guard Brandon Lopez entered for him, which drew a standing ovation from the crowd as Golden walked to the bench.

By Ryan Howard

Tennessee knocked off a ranked team for the second time this season with the other win coming against No. 23 Wichita State on Dec. 13. It was also the fifth win over a ranked for the Vols under Cuonzo Martin with three coming last season. That also included a win over a defending national champion as the Vols topped UConn on Jan. 21, 2012.

For the Vols, the 88 points were their most of the season, surpassing 83 vs. UMass on Nov. 18, 2012.

The Vols were a perfect 5-of-5 from 3-point range including three treys by Skylar McBee.

Tennessee led by as many as 39 in the game with 2:28 left in regulation as D'Montre Edwards made a pair of free throws on technical foul free throws. That put UT ahead, 86-47.

It was a very chippy and physical game as four technical fouls were called, three on the Wildcats and one on the Vols' Brandon Lopez in the final minutes.

A wild first half saw the Vols build a 50-26 lead at halftime. It was the most points the Vols scored in a first half of an SEC game since Feb. 27, 2007, when they led Florida, 50-31. The +24 margin was the largest since leading LSU by +32 (50-18) on Jan. 4, 1999.

Tennessee went on a 13-0 run over four minutes to expand its lead from 22-12 to 35-12 on a pair of Josh Richardson free throws with 7:22 left in the first half.

Kentucky's assistant coach John Robic was ejected from the game with 11:17 left in the first half. It came on the heels of a controversial alternate possession that happened seconds earlier. That call led to a 3-pointer by McBee, which gave the Vols a 22-10 lead with 12:53 left in the first half.

Kyle Wiltjer scored 18 points, Julius Mays had 12 and Jarrod Polson added a career-high 11 for Kentucky. Wiltjer and Polson replaced Alex Poythress and Ryan Harrow in Kentucky's starting lineup while 7-foot freshman Willie Cauley-Stein took Noel's place. Cauley-Stein, Poythress and Harrow all fouled out.

Vols star Tobias Harris returned to campus and was the featured performer in the Vols' version of the 'Harlem Shake.'

The Vols return to action on Tuesday night as LSU comes to Thompson-Boling Arena at 7 p.m.





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