For the second time in just three days Ashley Judd certainly had something to complain about as the Tennessee Vols defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 82-80 in front a standout crowd at Thompson Boling Arena. Kentucky jumped out to a 8-2 lead but the Vols quickly fought back and took a lead that they would not give up the entire second half. Tennessee was led by Robert Hubbs III with 25 points. It was a complete team effort as the Big Orange would not be denied the victory.
Offense: It is hard to imagine the Vols playing a better game offensively. Tennessee shot 47 percent from the floor and made five of ten 3-point shots. Hubbs continually scored over the top of the Cats and Grant Williams had six huge points to finish the game scoring 13 total. Admiral Schofield is playing like the best sixth man in the SEC scoring 15 points off the bench. For the second game in a row the Big Orange was excellent in protecting the basketball committing only nine turnovers. Tennessee had 18 assist with an unusual leader in that area as Williams dished out six. On the negative side of things for the second straight game the Vols struggled at the free throw line. At one point in the second stanza Tennessee missed six of eight from the charity stripe but were able to overcome those misses.
Defense: Little doubt this game was the best game the Big Orange has played all year on defense. Sure Malik Monk scored 25 points but he earned then shooting just seven for 19 and was hawked all game by Shembari Phillips and Jordan Bowden. Kentucky shot just 42 percent from the floor and only 25 percent from outside the arc. Kentucky was able to score some in the paint but was outscored inside 42-28. Lew Evans continues to come up big for the Vols on defense and drew another key offensive foul down the stretch.This team has done a much better job stopping the dribble drive in recent games and that was a tough task against the talented Cats guards but Rick Barnes' group did an admiral job with that.
Rebounding: It is becoming apparent that Rick Barnes really knows how to coach teams into being excellent rebounding units. This team is over matched physically game in and game out but continue to get it done on the glass. Tennessee lost the battle on the glass by only one to the bigger Wildcats 40-39 and the offensive glass was 9-8 in favor of the Cats. When looking at the leaders for Tennessee on the glass, Hubbs (7), Lamonte Tuner (7), Schofield (7), and Williams (6) it is clear this team is rebounding well as a team and not just one individual.