Before UK’s game with Tennessee, DeAaron Fox was the big story. Will he play or wont he. Well, he did, unfortunately the Cats did not fair too well, putting on a dismal shooting performance against a very feisty Volunteer team. Malik Monk was 1 of 6 from 3 point land and the Cats were a dismal 2 for 13 from behind the arc in the first half. The Cats shot a frigid 34.4% in the opening frame.
Monk led UK with 14 points. No one else on the Wildcats did much damage. UK looked a step off the pace defensively and were repeatedly hurt on cuts and drives to the hoop. UK was out shot from the field 41.2% to 34.4%. They were out shot from the arc 66.7% to 15.4%. Tennessee also shot 70% to Kentucky’s 66.7%. Shooting is not the only area that UK was outplayed. Tennessee outrebounded UK, had more assists, more steals and had fewer turnovers. All this resulted in a 39-34 Volunteer halftime lead.
The second half wasn’t much better for the young Cats as they could not overcome poor shooting and lack of passing. Tennessee held off several UK runs late but were able to hold on to defeat the 4th ranked Cats 82-80. UK was led in scoring by Malik Monk with 25 points. Fox chipped in 17, Adebayo had 21. Briscoe had 11 points, 5 assist and 14 rebounds. Willis had 4 and Gabriel rounded out the scoring with 2 points. Kentucky suffered a loss on a night where several top 10 teams also suffered losses including UK’s next opponent, #2 ranked Kansas.