LEXINGTON – January 15, 2022 – John Turner, III
The Kentucky Wildcats hosted the Tennessee Volunteers Saturday at Rupp Arena, after the new broke that former Coach Joe B. Hall had passed earlier in the day. The CATS honored Joe B. with a tribure on the big board prior to the game, and Coach Cal coached with Joe B’s trademark rolled program in hand. Coach Hall’s Banner was also illuminated during the game.
The CATS entered the game at (13-3) on the season, coming off a 78-66 win against Vanderbilt. The Volunteers entered the game (11-4) on the season, coming off a 66-46 win against South Carolina. Kentucky entered the game with four starters averaging double digits in the scoring column with Sahvir Wheeler barely left off the list, averaging 9.6 points per game on the season. Oscar Tshiebwe came into the game averaging 15.1 rebounds per game on the season. Kentucky leads the all-time series against Tennessee 157-75 and 91-19 when those games were played in Lexington coming into today’s matchup.
Kentucky took a 12-5 lead in the first three minutes of regulation with Kellan Grady hitting back-to-back three-point field goals that got the sold-out BBN crowd going early. With 13:18 remaining in the first half, Davion Mintz assisted Oscar Tshiebwe for an alley-oop dunk to give the Cats a 16-8 lead. Davion Mintz had a nice ball fake and drove baseline to convert on a two-handed slam dunk to give the Cats a 36-27 lead with 6:26 left to play in the first half. Davion Mintz hit a three-point field goal with 5:07 on the clock to extend the Wildcat lead to 39-30. TyTy Washington scored on consecutive possessions to give the Cats their first double-digit lead of the game with a score of 45-34. Kellan Grady hit a three-point field goal with 56 seconds left in the half to give Kentucky a 50-36 lead.
Kentucky went into the half with a 52-36 lead over the Volunteers. Kentucky was led in scoring by TyTY Washington with fourteen points, Kellan Grady with nine points, Sahvir Wheeler with eight points, and Davion Mintz with seven points. Oscar Tshiebwe grabbed eight rebounds in the first half to lead the Wildcats in the rebound column. The Wildcats scored seventeen points off turnovers in the first half. The Wildcats went 22-28 from field goals and 4-6 from three-point field goals, averaging out to 72.7% shooting from the field in the first twenty minutes of regulation.
Kellan Grady was fouled on a three-point field goal and converted on the shot and the free-throw to give Kentucky a 62-43 lead with 17:26 remaining the game. TyTY Washington hit a three-point field goal with 16:24 on the clock to give the Cats a 67-45 lead, forcing the Volunteers to call a timeout to try and slow down the Wildcats momentum and the BBN fanbase. Davion Mintz hit a three-point field goal in transition to give the Wildcats a 79-50 lead with 12:27 left to play. Sahvir Wheeler converted on two free-throws with 12:10 left on the clock to give the Cats a thirty-point lead with a score of 81-50. Kellan Grady converted on an And-1 layup in transition and made the free throw to give the Cats an 89-57 lead with 8:18 left in the game. The Wildcats finished the game with a 107-79 win against the Volunteers.
Kentucky improves to (14-4) on the season with the win against Tennessee. With the win today Kentucky improved to 4-1 in SEC play and improving to 12-0 at home this season. The Wildcats were led in scoring TyTY Washington scoring twenty-eight points, Sahvir Wheeler scoring twenty-one points, Kellan Grady scoring sixteen points, and Davion Mintz scoring ten points. The Wildcats were led in rebounding by Oscar Tshiebwe with a total of twelve rebounds for the game. The atmosphere in Rupp Arena was unreal with a sold-out crowd and the Wildcats shooting lights out made it even better. The Wildcats went 38-56 (67.9%) from field-goals and 11-18 (61.1%) from three-point field goals. The Wildcats went 20-21 (95.2%) from the free-throw line in today’s game. The 107 points scored is the most points Kentucky has scored vs an AP-Top 25 team since 1994.
Kentucky travels to Texas A&M this Wednesday to take on the Aggies at 8:30 PM.