(WAVE) - Tennessee overcame a 17 point second half deficit to beat #6 UK 81-73 and snap the Cats eight game winning streak.
“We’ve been on a heck of a run, and this team has done a lot of good stuff,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “The one thing we worry about is if the game is let to be physical, like, Nick’s getting, then we need to learn to play in these kind of games. You have a lead, we came out of a timeout, I had to call one, we’re running a play to try to get something near that basket, we take a jump shot, like just shoot it, like what?”
Nick Richards hit two free throws to give the Cats a 48-31 lead with 17:30 remaining.
UT big man John Fulkerson made the plays down the stretch. His three-point play with 7:28 left got Tennessee within 60-58. Then Fulkerson found Josiah-Jordan James for a triple with 6:46 left to give the Vols a 61-60 lead. Fulkerson finished with a career-high 27 points.
UT out hustled the Cats to loose balls and had a 31-26 advantage on the boards.
“You have a 17 point lead as a coach, you should win the game, come on. We got manhandled, I got manhandled," Calipari said.
Tyrese Maxey led the Cats with 21. Immanuel Quickley finished with 15, but was just 5-16 from the field. Nick Richards had 12 points and 9 rebounds. UK’s lone senior, Nate Sestina, scored just two points. His follow dunk at the end of the first half gave the Cats a 42-31 halftime lead.
Kentucky falls to 24-6, 14-3 in the SEC. Tennessee improves to 17-3, 9-8.
The Cats wrap up the regular season on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Florida (18-11, 10-6).