"We had our chances," coach Tubby Smith said, "Patrick Sparks hit a couple of big shots to keep us in the game. We just quit getting the ball inside when we had them in foul trouble and just couldn't finish."
"Davis is a big guy, tough to contain," said Smith, "you have to really fight to keep the ball away from him. But he's a real load inside. He got some real high percentage shots. And then we bailed them out a lot with fouls."
Center Randolph Morris led the Wildcats with 17 points and Patrick Sparks added 13, including two big three pointers down the stretch that kept the Wildcats close. Rajon Rondo and Sheray Thomas added nine points a piece.
With under 14-seconds on the close, Kentucky had a chance to tie the game, but Sheray Thomas' shot from the low post was way too strong. "We delayed too much to get the ball to Sheray," Smith said, "He was open but it took too long to develop. By the time we got to him, they had him covered pretty well and he missed the shot."
The Wildcats shot the ball well (45% FG, 40% 3-pt FG) and held the Tigers to just 37% shooting, but lost the rebounding battle and could not overcome the disparity in free throw shooting.
"We did some good things," Smith said, "we came into a hostile arena and were in a position to win down the stretch. We handled the ball pretty well. We can take some of those things into the game against Tennessee. It's all about confidence.