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Kentucky halts No. 5 Tennessee’s 25-game home win streak

Jan 14, 2023; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Oscar Tshiebwe (34) and forward Jacob Toppin (0) react after a play against the Tennessee Volunteers during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Reeves scored a team-high 18 points off the bench and Oscar Tshiebwe recorded his 50th career double-double as visiting Kentucky stunned No. 5 Tennessee 63-56 Saturday afternoon in Knoxville, Tenn.

Tshiebwe scored 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the unranked Wildcats (11-6, 2-4 Southeastern Conference), who came into the game as significant underdogs after losing their previous two games.

Reeves’ free throws with 12.9 seconds left gave the Wildcats a 61-56 cushion, and Jacob Toppin, who was a game-time decision after a shoulder injury, added two more free throws for the final points. CJ Fredrick also finished in double figures for the Wildcats with 13 points.

The loss ended a 25-game home winning streak for the Vols (14-3, 4-1 SEC), who got a huge game out of Uros Plavsic (career-high 19 points).

Tennessee was only 7 of 10 from the free-throw line to Kentucky’s 22 of 25. The Wildcats also enjoyed a 43-23 rebounding advantage.

Down nine points just two minutes into the second half, the Vols caught the Wildcats at 41-41 on Tyreke Key’s 3-pointer and took a brief 43-41 lead on Zakai Ziegler’s driving layup.

It didn’t last long as Reeves scored five quick points to put the Wildcats up 46-43. They led 53-50 at the under 4-minute media timeout on another Reeves’ jumper.

Kentucky boosted that to 58-50 with 3:26 remaining, but a 6-0 Tennessee run — including two baskets by Plavsic — made it a 2-point game in the final minute before the Vols missed their last four shots.

Tennessee jumped out to an 8-0 lead in less than three minutes, but Kentucky responded with a 10-0 spurt as the Vols’ scoring drought lasted for more than five minutes. Plavic’s basket ignited a 5-for-5 shooting streak for the Vols, but that was immediately followed by a 1-for-8 stretch.

The Wildcats closed out the half by outscoring the Vols 12-3 over the final 4:15 for a 33-26 cushion. They enjoyed a 22-10 rebounding advantage for the half, though the Wildcats had only a 7-2 advantage in second-chance points.

–Field Level Media