Feb. 26, 2003
Box Score |
Final score: Kentucky 80, Tennessee 68
UK is now 23-3 overall, 13-0 in the SEC. Tennessee is 15-9 overall, 7-6 in the SEC.
Kentucky has won 17 in a row, the nation's longest current winning streak. It ties the longest winning streak of the Tubby Smith era. The Wildcats won the last 13 of the 1998 season and the first four games of 1998-99 for a 17-game streak. It also ties Louisville for the nation's longest Division I win streak of the season, as the Cardinals also won 17 in a row earlier this year.
Kentucky completed a perfect February with an 8-0 mark. It is UK's first spotless February since 1996.
Tonight's victory clinches a bye in the first round of the SEC Tournament, which will be played March 13-16 in New Orleans, La. Kentucky needs one more win to clinch a tie for the SEC regular-season championship and two wins to win the SEC title outright.
Tonight's victory gives the Tubby Smith his best record through 26 games in his 12-year coaching career. The next best was Smith's 1997-98 team that went 22-4 in its first 26 contests.
Kentucky leads the series 132-62, including 78-15 in games played in Lexington.
Tennessee shot 58.7 percent from the field, most by a Wildcat opponent this season. Four opponents have shot 50 percent or better against Kentucky this season, including twice by Tennessee; ironically, the Wildcats have won all four of those games.
Key run: leading 39-36 at halftime, UK opened the second stanza with an 18-6 run for a 57-42 advantage, the Wildcats' biggest lead of the game. Tennessee whittled the margin to six with a 9-0 run of its own, but could get no closer.
Kentucky won despite being outrebounded 29-21, the Wildcats' lowest rebound total of the season.
The Wildcats bounced back from a sub-par free throw performance against Mississippi State to nail 25 of 29, 86.2 percent, tonight. UK made just 7 of 14 (50 percent) against the Bulldogs.
The difference in the game came at the free throw line, 25 to 8. Tennessee outscored Kentucky from the field, 60-55.
Senior guard Keith Bogans made a three-pointer in his 29th consecutive game, the third-longest streak in school history. Bogans has made at least one three in every game this season.
Bogans had 15 points today, giving him 1,783 points in his career and moving him past Cotton Nash and Tayshaun Prince into seventh place on the UK career scoring list. Nash scored 1,770 points as a Wildcat and Prince tallied 1,775.
Senior forward/center Jules Camara had the 150th blocked shot of his career tonight.
Junior guard Cliff Hawkins scored all 11 of his points in the second half, including a 7-of-7 performance at the free throw line, a career high for free throws made.
Sophomore forward Chuck Hayes played an efficient game, tallying 12 points on 4-6 FG and 4-4 FT, along with four assists and a career-high four steals.
Kentucky returns to action Sunday at 4 p.m. when the Wildcats travel to Athens to take on the Georgia Bulldogs. The game will be telecast by CBS.