Stop the Bleeding!!!

The Tennessee Vols put up a very valiant effort on Wednesday night. As is often the situation, the word valiant is closely followed by the word loss. That is exactly the case following a hard-fought 80-68 loss by the Volunteers to the Kentucky Wildcats this evening.

True freshman point guard C.J. Watson picked up his third foul early in the first half and was kept at bay when he was on the court by UK's swarming defense. Cats Gerald Fitch and Cliff Hawkins made Watson work for everything he did. C.J. was averaging just under 6 assists per game, which was fifth best in the conference. Tonight he was held to just 3 scoring assists.

Fault can't be laid at Watson's feet alone. Tennessee committed 18 turnovers that lead to 22 points for the 2nd ranked Wildcats. Kentucky's defense was as fine as it has been all season long. The Volunteers shot the ball very well in the first half, yet the pressure kept coming.

Kentucky won by double-digits for the 11th time in 12 games, committing only nine turnovers and going 25-of-29 from the strip.

The Vols used a 9-0 run to trim an early 15-point second-half deficit to six.

At the half, UK led 39-36. When the teams came back out of the locker room, the Cats jumped on a roll that Tennessee was never able to recover from.

Ron Slay had a monster game on the box stats for the Vols, but in reality Slay made some key turnovers. Brandon Crump bounced back from his poor performance against Alabama by scoring 13 points and 4 rebounds.

Keith Bogans led Kentucky in the scoring column as he scored 15 points. Jules Camara and Chuck Hayes added 12 each. Marquis Estill pulled down 9 boards for UK.

Camara converted a three-point play with 7:14 left and the Wildcats got the lead back stongly into their favor. Camara scored again a minute later and Hayes dunked after a steal by Hawkins.

Even with a 12-point loss, the Vols shooting percentage was much better than Kentucky's. Tennessee shot 58.7% from the floor, while the Wildcats were 48.1. Neither percentages are bad at all.

Fans chanted, "Tubby, Tubby" in the final minute, and the Kentucky coach grinned slightly. One must wonder if he was thinking about some of the callers on sports radio shows across the state following his team's 18-point loss against instate rival Louisville earlier this season.

The Vols will now play LSU on Saturday in Knoxville. The game will begin 7pm EST.


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