Tennessee guard Zakai Zeigler (5) gestures to fans he can't hear them during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kentucky Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. Tennessee won 76-63. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

No. 16 Tennessee Get Revenge, Routs No. 4 Kentucky

The Tennessee Volunteers dominated their rival Kentucky in their second matchup of the season, winning by 13.

Pregame

As teams near the make-or-break point portion of the season, Kentucky and Tennessee sit No. 2 and No. 3 in the SEC. The head-to-head matchups become even more critical down the stretch.

The first time these two teams met this season, Kentucky ran away with the game. The Wildcats destroyed Tennessee 107-79 in Lexington. Kentucky shot up six spots in the following AP poll, going from 18 to 12.

Now, four weeks later, Kentucky has risen all the way to four. Meanwhile, Tennessee has rebounded, having won seven of eight since the Kentucky game, and climbed back to 16.

Tennessee’s Revenge

With the game in Knoxville, trailing Kentucky by a game in the standings and having been blown out the first matchup, Tennessee had all of the motivation to win. This showed, as Tennessee went up 46-32 at half and won with a 76-63 final.

A large part of Tennessee’s turnaround from the first game was the fact it played a much cleaner game this time around. When these two teams met a month ago, Tennessee turned the ball over a total of 20 times. Off those turnovers, Kentucky scored 32 of it points. This time, Tennessee was much better at protecting the ball. It only turned the ball over eight times, on which Kentucky scored just seven points.

Key Players

Tennessee had four player scoring double digit points. Santiago Vescovi and Kennedy Chandler spent the most time on the court for Tennessee, playing 35 and 36 minutes. Those two players also scored 18 and 17 points, alongside John Fulkerson and Zakai Zeigler, who each scored 14 points off the bench.

Chandler also tallied six assists, five rebounds and two steals. Zeigler added four assists and four steals to contribute to the win.

For Kentucky, Oscar Tshiebwe put together a double-double, scoring 13 points and getting 15 rebounds. Jacob Toppin also had 11 points and six rebounds off the bench.

Aftermath

With the win, Tennessee is now tied with Kentucky for second place in the SEC, each with a 10-3 conference record. This win also makes Tennessee a perfect 14-0 at home this season and its fifth win in a row. Tennessee should be expected to climb several spots in the next AP poll, with Kentucky falling.

Looking ahead, Tennessee faces a ranked opponent in three of its five remaining games on the schedule. It faces No. 23 Arkansas twice, first on the road Saturday and then at home for the final game of the regular season on March 5. Tennessee also hosts No. 2 Auburn on Feb. 25.

Kentucky’s next two are at home against No. 25 Alabama and LSU, then on the road at Arkansas. The Wildcats will then end their regular season at home against Ole Miss and on the road against Florida.

About Jack Shivertaker

Jack Shivertaker is a senior at the University of Florida pursuing a degree in Journalism with a focus on sports media.

Check Also

Gators

Gators Drop Home Season Finale To No. 4 Kentucky In Extra Innings

The Florida Gators’ home season finale felt like an appropriate summary of the team’s 2024 …