KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (LEX 18) — Kentucky took every punch Tennessee threw and threw one right back to earn a 77-64 road victory over their SEC rival on Saturday afternoon in Thompson-Boling Arena. The Wildcats led the final 37:25 of the game.
With the win, UK improves to 18-5 (8-2 SEC) and are now in a three-way tie for first place in the SEC with Auburn and LSU. Tennessee falls to 13-10 (5-5 SEC) with the loss.
Immanuel Quickley scored 18 points to lead the Wildcats in the victory. Tyrese Maxey (15 points), Nick Richards (15 points), Johnny Juzang (13 points) and Ashton Hagans (10 points) also broke double figures. Santiago Vescovi led the Volunteers with 18 points.
Tennessee jumped out to a 4-2 lead thanks to a pair of scores from John Fulkerson and Uros Plavsic; it would be the last time the Volunteers led. Immanuel Quickley's 3-pointer moments later gave UK a 5-4 lead, a lead it never surrendered.
The Wildcats stretched their lead to double digits at the 6:23 mark of the first half when a Juzang 3-pointer gave UK a 26-25 lead. The Volunteers cut the deficit to six, 34-28, before another Juzang 3-pointer pushed the Wildcats' lead back to nine points. UK held a 37-30 lead at halftime.
The Wildcats stretched their lead back out to double digits, 51-41, before a pair of 3-pointers from Vescovi cut the deficit to four points with 9:16 to play and brought the Volunteer crowd to it's feet.
However, the Volunteers never got any closer. Vescovi would drill another 3-pointer with 3:14 to play to make the score 66-61. A pair of free throws from Richards and a 3-pointer from Quickley stretched the lead back to 10 points, 71-61, with 1:32 to play and all but put the game away as the Wildcats held on for the 13-point victory.
Kentucky travels to Vanderbilt (9-14, 1-9 SEC) on Tuesday. The Wildcats defeated the Commodores 71-62 on Jan. 29. The game will be televised on ESPN.