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Hubbs directs Vols to upset against Wildcats

By Steve Megargee

Associated Press

Knoxville, Tenn. — On a night full of stunners in college basketball, Tennessee added No. 4 Kentucky to the list of upset victims.

Robert Hubbs III scored 25 points Tuesday night and Tennessee surprised Kentucky 82-80 to snap the Wildcats’ seven-game winning streak.

Tennessee (11-9, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) beat Kentucky (17-3, 7-1) in Knoxville for the second straight season and earned its first victory over a top-five team since an 83-76 triumph over No. 3 Pittsburgh on Dec. 11, 2010.

 “We just wanted to go out and make a statement,” Hubbs said. “I think we did that tonight.”

Kentucky’s defeat capped a night in which three of the nation’s top four teams lost. Marquette beat No. 1 Villanova 74-72 and No. 2 Kansas fell 85-69 at No. 18 West Virginia.

In Kentucky’s last visit to Knoxville, Tennessee erased a 21-point deficit to beat the Wildcats 84-77. No second-half comeback was necessary this time, as Tennessee pulled ahead for good with just over 4 minutes left in the first half

“Tennessee was better than us tonight,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “They deserved to win the game. It would have been a shame if we’d made a 3 or something crazy and had won the game. … From the start, they deserved to win.”

Admiral Schofield scored 15 points, Grant Williams had 13 and Lamonte Turner added 10 for Tennessee. Schofield and Turner led a Tennessee bench that outscored Kentucky’s reserves 37-4.

Malik Monk scored 25 points, Bam Adebayo had 21 and De’Aaron Fox added 17 for Kentucky. Fox was in Kentucky’s starting lineup three nights after hurting his ankle in a victory over South Carolina.

After trailing by as many as 11 points in the second half, Kentucky got within two but couldn’t come all the way back.

“I just thought our poise was great from the beginning,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “I thought we stayed locked in with what we were trying to get done throughout the game. I’m just really, really proud and happy for these guys.”

Kentucky’s Derek Willis missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer when Tennessee was clinging to a 66-64 lead with 4:17 left. When Tennessee’s lead got down to 68-66 with 3:45 remaining, the Vols answered with a 5-0 run.

And when Kentucky tried to get a stop rather than fouling in the final minute, Williams made a basket that put the Vols ahead 80-75 with 14.2 seconds left.

Turner made two game-clinching free throws with 5.4 seconds left before Isaiah Briscoe made a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to cut the final margin to two.


Kentucky: This loss also ended Kentucky’s streak of seven straight games in which the Wildcats had shot 50 percent or better. Kentucky shot 42 percent overall and 25 percent from 3-point range. The Wildcats were particularly cold in the first half, when they shot just 11 of 32 overall.

The Wildcats were most effective when they got the ball inside to Adebayo, who was 7 of 8 from the field and 7 of 8 from the free throw line.

Tennessee: The Vols’ grueling nonconference schedule may have paid off Tuesday, as they weren’t intimidated by facing Kentucky. Tennessee has played seven teams in this week’s Top 25: No. 3 Gonzaga, Kentucky, No. 9 North Carolina, No. 10 Oregon, No. 15 Wisconsin, No. 23 South Carolina and No. 25 Florida. The Vols hadn’t beaten any of the other six teams, but they only lost by two at North Carolina and took Oregon to overtime.