Wildcats Survive Vols' Comeback, Pick Up Road Win in OT
By ELIZABETH A. DAVIS
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- One of Kentucky's winning streaks is still alive.
Chuck Hayes scored off his own miss with 3:49 left in overtime to lead ninth-ranked Kentucky to a 69-68 victory Tuesday night over Tennessee.
Erik Daniels had 19 points and Hayes added 18 points and 16 rebounds for the Wildcats (12-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference), who had a scare after their 19-game SEC regular-season winning streak was ended Saturday by Georgia.
Kentucky extended its winning streak on the road in the SEC to 10 games.
"It was exciting to get this win because we overcame a lot of obstacles. This team showed a lot of heart," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "Against Georgia last week, there was no toughness and we looked worn down."
Tennessee (10-4, 2-3) trailed until it put together two 9-0 runs midway through the second half, the last giving the Volunteers their first lead at 52-51 with 7:37 remaining.
Kentucky got the lead back and was ahead by three points with 3:53 left.
Tennessee's Scooter McFadgon canned two free throws to make it 61-60, but neither team could score over the next three minutes.
C.J. Watson broke the drought for Tennessee with 55.3 seconds left on a fast-break layup off a turnover Brandon Crump grabbed from Kentucky's Gerald Fitch.
Watson extended Tennessee's lead to 64-61 with two free throws with 22 seconds to go, but the Vols couldn't hold on for the upset.
Cliff Hawkins hit a 3-pointer with 16.3 seconds left to tie it at 64. McFadgon missed a shot as time expired.
McFadgon had four points in overtime, but a 3 by Daniels and Hayes' rebound and basket was all Kentucky needed to get its fourth straight win over the Vols.
Hawkins' basket was key in the win, and that's the senior Smith wanted taking the tying shot.
"I knew Cliff was shooting the ball well and it went in," Smith said. "We were trying to get the ball to one of our seniors."
A 3-pointer was not the shot Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson wanted his defense to allow. He had preferred the Vols foul a Kentucky player in the final seconds.
"I felt that if we got the lead late, we would win the ballgame, but I was disappointed we couldn't pull it off," Peterson said. "I was pleased with the grit and determination we showed."
McFadgon led Tennessee by scoring 19 of his 33 points in the first half, and Crump added 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Hawkins had 13 points and six assists for the Wildcats, who overcame 23 turnovers and 30 personal fouls to avoid a second straight loss.
Kentucky lost 65-57 to Georgia at home, and Smith questioned the Wildcats' toughness. But Kentucky showed plenty against Tennessee, which came in 9-0 at home this season.
"It was one of those games that we knew would be a war," Smith said.
The Wildcats outrebounded Tennessee 27-13 in the first half and were ahead 10-0 in the first four minutes of the game and by 13 at halftime.
The Vols got as close as 24-21 in the first half before making their second-half runs.