KNOXVILLE, Tenn. --- Following a script eerily similar to a loss at Mississippi State earlier this season, Kentucky let a commanding early lead slip from its hands and lost in overtime, 76-74, on Wednesday at Tennessee.
The Volunteers (12-10, 5-4 SEC) got 24 points from junior forward Marcus Haislip, including the game-winning basket on a tip-in of his own missed shot with 18 seconds remaining. Haislip hit 11 of 19 shots from the field and also pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds.
Seventh-ranked Kentucky (15-6, 5-4 SEC) had a final opportunity to tie or win the game, but Tayshaun Prince's long 3-pointer from the left wing hit the back of the rim and bounced away as the UT student section charged the floor to celebrate.
Tennessee had been 0-7 in games decided by five points or less.
"They've been through an awful lot and have kept their courage," UT coach Buzz Peterson said. "I told them late in the game, 'We are going to win.'"
The Wildcats, who led by 13 early in the first half and by nine at the break, had to rally at the end of regulation, getting a pair of 3-pointers from Gerald Fitch to send the game into overtime.
But they managed only a Chuck Hayes layup and a pair of Prince free throws in the extra period as UK dropped to 0-3 in overtime games this season.
The Cats wasted 15 seconds before calling timout at the :03.3 mark prior to Prince's final shot. Hayes had flashed open to the basket on the play, but did not receive the ball from Keith Bogans, who was triggering the play from out of bounds.
"We talked about getting tough and making plays you have to make," UK coach Tubby Smith said. "You can't point to one play, one shot or one player."
Kentucky shot 45 percent for the game, but hit only 33 percent (12 of 35) in the second half. Meanwhile, Tennessee stormed back by shooting almost 70 percent (17 of 24) in the second half.
The Cats also doomed their chances by committing 20 turnovers, nearly all of them the unforced variety.
Prince led UK with 22 points. Hayes followed with a career-high 15 points and matched Prince for a team-high seven rebounds. Fitch had 12 points and Bogans added 10, but failed to score in the final 29 minutes.
In addition to Haislip's big performance, the Vols got 19 points from Vincent Yarbrough and 12 each from Thaydeus Holden and Jenis Grindstaff.