Knoxville, Tenn. — Tennessee didn’t like the way it got pushed around at Kentucky two weeks ago. The Volunteers pushed back in the rematch and delivered a knockout blow.
Jordan Bone scored a career-high 27 points and No. 7 Tennessee beat No. 4 Kentucky 71-52 on Saturday to maintain its home-court dominance. The decisive win came two weeks after the Vols fell 86-69 at Kentucky, a loss that snapped a school-record 19-game winning streak and dropped Tennessee out of the No. 1 ranking.
“The last game, they just manhandled us and they were the more physical team,” Bone said. “You could just tell the way the game went, they just wanted it more.
“We don’t ever want to go into a game or leave a game saying that about another team, they wanted it more than us. That’s something we challenged ourselves with.”
Tennessee (26-3, 14-2 SEC) earned its 25th straight home victory to remain tied for first place in the Southeastern Conference with No. 13 LSU – the Tigers beat Alabama 74-69 earlier in the day. The Vols haven’t lost a home game since falling 94-84 to Auburn on Jan. 2, 2018.
The Vols also beat Kentucky (24-5, 13-3) at home for a fourth straight year to delight a sellout crowd in the first regular season matchup of top-10 teams at Thompson-Boling Arena since the facility’s 1987 opening. Tennessee is 4-0 at home against Kentucky under coach Rick Barnes.
“For us, it’s always been about protecting our home court,” said Tennessee’s Grant Williams, who scored 24 points. “It’s something that we take pride in.”
Tennessee capitalized on the absence of Kentucky forward Reid Travis, who missed a third straight game with a sprained right knee.
“For us to win without Reid, we were going to have to play one of the best games in the last 10 years,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said.
That didn’t come close to happening.
Kentucky had its lowest point total since a 64-48 loss to Vanderbilt in the 2013 SEC Tournament. The Vols held Kentucky without a basket for a 9 ½-minute stretch in the first half and stayed in control the rest of the way.
PJ Washington scored 13 points but was the lone Kentucky player in double figures as the Wildcats lost for just the second time in 16 games.
“We got beat every which way but loose,” said Calipari, who received a technical foul late in the first half. “Our young kids played like freshmen, played like deer in headlights.”
The game went back and forth for the first 10 minutes, and a basket by Kentucky’s Keldon Johnson cut Tennessee’s lead to 17-16 with 10:23 left in the first half. But the Wildcats didn’t get another basket until Jemarl Baker sank a 3-pointer with 51 seconds remaining in the half.
Kentucky missed 12 straight field-goal attempts as Tennessee went on a 17-4 run that was capped by an alley-oop from Williams to Jordan Bowden. Tennessee built a 37-24 halftime lead and remained in front by at least 13 throughout the second half.
More Top 25
No. 1 Gonzaga 69, (at) St. Mary's 55: Josh Perkins scored 19 points and Brandon Clarke sparked a big second-half run with strong play on both ends of the court to help Gonzaga wrap up a perfect conference regular season.
Clarke had six points during the game-changing 17-0 spurt in the second half that sent the Bulldogs (29-2, 16-0 West Coast Conference) to another lopsided win, extending the nation’s longest winning streak to 20 games.
Clarke also had three blocks during that stretch and influenced several others as Gonzaga proved to be far too tough for its fiercest conference rival and sealed its fifth perfect conference record in the regular season.
Jordan Ford scored 19 points to lead the Gaels (20-11, 11-5). They went nearly eight minutes without scoring in the second half.
(At) No. 2 Virginia 73, Pittsburgh 49: Kyle Guy scored 17 points and No. 2 Virginia beat Pittsburgh 73-49 on Saturday, handing the Panthers their 12th straight loss.
Ty Jerome added 13 points and De’Andre Hunter had 12 for the Cavaliers (26-2, 14-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who maintained at least a share of the lead in the ACC pending North Carolina’s game at Clemson later Saturday.
Jered Wilson-Frame scored 15 points and Au’diese Toney had 12 for Pittsburgh (12-17, 2-14). The loss was the 23rd in a row on the road for the Panthers, and their 20th consecutive in ACC road games.
(At) No. 3 Duke 87, Miami 57: RJ Barrett had 19 points and 10 rebounds, fellow freshman Cameron Reddish added 19 points and Duke routed Miami.
With national player of the year candidate Zion Williamson sidelined for a third straight game with a mild right knee sprain, the Blue Devils (25-4, 13-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) never trailed and shot 57 percent from the field. They bounced back from a five-point loss at No. 20 Virginia Tech – their second loss in three games.
Duke pushed its lead into the 20s to stay by outscoring Miami 36-11 over the final 12-plus minutes of the first half.
Anthony Lawrence and Ebuka Izundu scored 15 points each for the Hurricanes (12-16, 4-12).
No. 5 North Carolina 81, (at) Clemson 79: No. 5 North Carolina survived a wild finish after coach Roy Williams fell and was helped off the court shortly before halftime, beating Clemson 81-79 on Saturday.
Coby White had 28 points behind six 3-pointers, and the Tar Heels (24-5) maintained a share of first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference, tied with No. 2 Virginia at 14-2 with a week left in the regular season. They also survived a tight ending where the Tigers (17-12, 7-9) cut a seven-point lead to two. But Shelton Mitchell lost the ball driving into two North Carolina defenders in the final seconds.
Williams wasn't there to see it. He sustained an episode of vertigo with a minute left before halftime, falling in front of his team's bench and getting led into the locker room. He did not return for the final 20 minutes.
The Tar Heels rallied in a roller-coaster second half — they led by nine, fell behind 54-48 before finally taking control — for their fifth straight win and 12th in their past 13 games.
Cameron Johnson had 19 points with six 3s of his own, and Luke Maye had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Central Florida 69, (at) No. 8 Houston 64: Collin Smith scored 21 points, leading Central Florida to the win at Houston.
The Knights (22-6, 12-4 American Athletic) outscored the Cougars 41-31 in the second half to snap a seven-game losing streak against ranked opponents. They also stopped Houston's 33-game home winning streak, which was the longest in the nation.
The Cougars (27-2, 14-2) lost for the first time since Jan. 9 at Temple. It was their first home loss since March 15, 2017.
Corey Davis Jr. led Houston with 19 points, and reserve DeJon Jarreau finished with 15.
No. 11 Texas Tech 81, (at) TCU 66: Jarrett Culver and Davide Moretti each had 15 points, and Texas Tech won its seventh game in row.
Tariq Owens had 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Red Raiders (24-5, 12-4 Big 12), who took control with a 24-5 run in the first half and withstood TCU (18-11, 6-10) scoring the first 10 points after halftime.
JD Miller had 18 points to lead TCU, while Alex Robinson had 17 and Kouat Noi 15.
(At) Utah State 81, No. 12 Nevada 76: Sam Merrill scored 29 points and Utah State beat Nevada to take over the Mountain West Conference lead. Diogo Brito added 15 points and eight rebounds, and Neemias Queta had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Aggies (24-6, 14-3). They won their sixth straight game and snapped a five-game losing streak in the series.
Caleb Martin had 23 points and nine rebounds for the Wolf Pack (26-3, 13-3) in their second loss in four games. Tre'Shawn Thurman added 21 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 2:47 left, and Cody Martin had 16 points and seven rebounds.
No. 13 LSU 74, (at) Alabama 69: Skylar Mays scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half and Javonte Smart had 19, leading LSU to the road win.
The Tigers (24-5, 14-2 Southeastern Conference) trailed by six points midway through the second half before taking over to maintain a share of the league lead.
LSU took a 64-59 lead on a layup by Mays with 3:19 left. Alabama (17-12, 8-8) cut it to one but then Riley Norris’ pass was intercepted by Tremont Waters to set up a big finish at the other end. Waters, who missed the past two games with an undisclosed illness, bounced the ball off the backboard and a trailing Mays caught it for a dunk.
John Petty made five 3-pointers and led Alabama with 23 points.
No. 15 Kansas 72, (at) Oklahoma State 67: Dedric Lawson scored 20 points and tied a season high with 15 rebounds, powering Kansas to the road win.
Lawson also had three steals in his 18th double-double of the season. Quentin Grimes added 17 points for Kansas (22-7, 11-5 Big 12), which has won five of its last six games.
Cam McGriff had 19 points and eight rebounds for Oklahoma State (10-19, 3-13) before fouling out with 1:38 remaining. Curtis Jones finished with 19 points and five rebounds.
The Cowboys, who led most of the way, have lost three in a row and eight of nine.
(At) No. 16 Kansas State 66, Baylor 60: Dean Wade scored 20, Kamau Stokes added 16 points and Xavier Sneed 14 for the Wildcats (24-5, 12-4), who held off the Bears to maintain a share of the Big 12 lead with No. 11 Texas Tech. Both teams have two games left.
Mario Kegler led Baylor (19-10, 10-6) with 13 points, Makai Mason had 11 and Jared Butler scored 10. The Wildcats scored 21 points off 19 Baylor turnovers.
(At) No. 18 Florida State 78, N.C. State 73: Reserve Mfiondu Kabengele scored 16 points and Trent Forrest had 13, leading Florida State to the victory.
Forrest was quiet early but finished 5 of 10 from the floor with six rebounds and three assists for the Seminoles (23-6, 11-5).
D.J. Funderburk fouled out with 1:09 left, scoring 18 points and pulling down nine rebounds for NC State (20-9, 8-8).
Kabengele shot 7 of 8 from the line while adding five rebounds and four blocks.
(At) No. 23 Cincinnati 71, Memphis 69: Jarron Cumberland overcame a sluggish first half and scored 26 points, moving the Bearcats (25-4, 14-2) into a tie for first place with Houston in the American Athletic Conference. They finish the regular season by facing each other in Cincinnati next Sunday.
The edgy game included three players getting technical fouls and another ejected. Jeremiah Martin led the Tigers (18-12, 10-7) with 28 points, keeping them in it until the final seconds.
No. 24 Wofford 85, (at) Samford 64: Fletcher Magee made eight 3-pointers on his way to a season-high 36 points, leading Wofford to the victory.
The Terriers (26-4, 18-0) closed out an unbeaten Southern Conference schedule. They have won 17 in a row heading into the conference tournament.
Samford (16-15, 6-12) lost its fourth straight game.
Magee went 13 for 22 from the field, including 8 of 14 from beyond the arc. He also had four assists and three steals.
Josh Sharkey and Robert Allen had 16 points apiece for Samford.