For the first time all year the Tennessee Volunteers were soundly defeated by an opponent, losing 83-58 to Kentucky at Rupp Arena in Lexington on Tuesday night.
The Vols fell to 14-12 on the season and 6-7 in Southeastern Conference play.
Rick Barnes summed it up nicely to start the post-game press conference: "We just were gosh darn bad."
Tennessee jumped out to a 5-0 lead after a basket by Grant Williams and then a 3-pointer from the top of the key by the standout freshman. It was all downhill from there as Kentucky began making a barrage of 3-point baskets, hitting 10 of its first 17 attempts from beyond the arc, jumping out to 43-26 halftime.
A three-point play by Admiral Schofield brought Tennessee to within 53-40 with 16:13 to play but the margin never shrunk again.
The Vols were shellshocked by the 'Cats success from downtown as they had made just 18 of 57 from long range in their previous three games. Another area that the 'Cats had come under fire for in recent weeks was an inability to play team basketball. That changed as they shared the basketball well en route to 17 assists and committed just seven turnovers.
The Vols return to Thompson-Boling Arena to face Missouri on Saturday in a must-win game for NCAA Tournament hope purposes for the Big Orange.
Offense: Barnes had seen his team play extremely well of late in the assists-to-turnover department. It doesn't take long to see how poorly this game was played on offense when looking at those stats. Tennessee committed 13 turnovers and dished out just seven assists.
The Vols shot 35 percent from the floor and made only 3 of 16 from outside the arc.
The lone bright spots for the Vols were the play of Jordan Bone and Admiral Schofield. Bone found his range from the outside, making 5 of 9, including 2 of 4 from 3-point range, finishing with 15 points. Schofield led the Vols with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
Defense: It was clear the Vols intended to focus on the interior and did a decent job of that. However, they allowed way too many open attempts from outside and gave up too much freedom of movement for the 'Cats and their passing.
Barnes played a small lineup for a number of minutes with Schofield and Williams playing together on the inside in order to try and slow down the 3-point barrage but by the time it stopped raining 3s the game was out of hand.
Rebounding: The final stats in the rebounding department show the Vols were defeated again 43-35, including 10-6 on the offensive glass.
Tennessee was led by Schofield with seven rebounds and like the loss versus Georgia there just wasn't much help outside of that.
No one else had more than four rebounds on the night.