College Basketball – Cats Get Payback with Win Over Vols

UK continues to roll with win over Tennessee - Photo by Brendon Miller
UK continues to roll with win over Tennessee – Photo by Brendon Miller

Lexington, Kentucky – Kentucky avenges an earlier loss to the Tennessee Volunteers with an 80-70 win.  Jamal Murray and Derek Willis combined for 53 of the 80 points and 10 of 17 from beyond the three-point mark in carrying the Cats to victory.  
Murray continued his hot play as he poured in a team leading 28 points, grabbing 9 rebounds along the way.  Murray has been on fire, shooting over 50 percent from the three-point area over the last four games and averaging over 28 points a game during that same four game run.  He is the main reason the Wildcats are on a roll and have not lost since that first meeting with the Volunteers.

Willis had a career high 25 points and made a career high seven three-pointers against the Volunteers as he continues to give the Wildcats another outside shooter that can open up the middle for the dribble-drive offense.  Willis has scored in double figures in six of the last ten games.

While Murray and Willis both had an outstanding game, the normally steady Tyler Ulis struggled a bit.  Ulis was only 3 for 15 from the field.  In explaining Ulis’ struggles Coach John Calipari said, “Tyler passed on open shots and took tough shots and you can’t do that.”  While Ulis wasn’t his normal self, he did contribute 11 points while handing out 9 assists.  Isaiah Briscoe led the team in rebounding with 10 and disrupted the Tennessee offense with his aggressive defense.

Unfortunately it wasn’t all good news for the Wildcats as Marcus Lee did not play the second half because of back spasms and is unlikely to play against Texas A&M.

With Alex Poythress already sidelined with a knee injury, the Wildcats will be disparately thin on the front line going on road to College Station.  The good news is, with the win over Tennessee, the Wildcats now sit a top of the SEC standings with a 10-3 conference mark, one game ahead of LSU.  They control their own destiny while in search for another SEC championship and the number 1 seeding in the upcoming SEC tournament in Nashville.