September 23, 2018

Kentucky edges No. 13 Tennessee for SEC championship

12 March 2018, 01:54 | Pamela Mathis

Kentucky edges No. 13 Tennessee for SEC championship

Kentucky edges No. 13 Tennessee for SEC championship

After coming up just short against the Kentucky Wildcats in the SEC Tournament championship, Tennessee basketball enters NCAA Selection Sunday with a bittersweet taste. Just like any tournament, any team can make a run as deep as they want. "It's not hitting me yet".

In avenging two losses to Tennessee during regular-season play, Kentucky canned 50 percent of its shots from the field and converted 20 of 24 free throws while limiting the Volunteers to 37.1 percent accuracy from the field.

Defensively, Tennessee yields 66.3 points per game against the opposing teams. "When we walked off the court at halftime, I said that I wished we could bottle that". If the Vols win their first round game, they would play the victor of Miami (FL) and Loyola Chicago. Kentucky is 23-10 on the season, 3-2 on a neutral floor and 16-17 against the spread.

Weatherspoon's injury left the Bulldogs dispirited for a long stretch in the second half.

"They were fresher, they were crisper and had more energy than we did", Anderson said.

"We have so much respect for Arkansas", said Barnes.

Arkansas was playing its third game in three days after beating SC 69-64 and No. 23 Florida 80-72.

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Early in the second half of Mississippi State's SEC Tournament game against Tennessee, Weatherspoon fell awkwardly on a layup attempt and appeared to injure his hip. "I thought the toll of three days might have caught up with us", Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said.

I don't need to tell Vol fans not to take this opportunity for granted. "We usually come with a lot of energy".

Jordan Bone fueled the offense with 19 points and four assists on the day. "We'll be ready. The biggest thing is we've got to get our bodies ready to play, get our minds ready to play, and execute the game plan for tomorrow". Star Kevin Knox (18 and 7 Sunday) was as assertive as we've seen him all season. Shots were falling, and we were playing against a really good defensive team.

Tennessee shot 9 of 24 in the second half but still finished at a season-high 57.1 percent (29 of 48).

"We didn't have any energy today". "I think that's what cost us". "We were more aggressive because he has incredible speed and getting what we call the crack down the lane". Grant Williams is averaging 15.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game to lead the team while Admiral Schofield is adding 13.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Jaylen Barford added 14, while Anton Beard posted 11. Alexander also finished with seven rebounds and two blocks, while Williams had five boards, four assists and a block. "We just have a standard we're trying to play towards. I have to be aggressive in order for us to be an effective team". That's why we are so risky and the way we're playing defense right now is incredible.

Those concerns have been somewhat quelled with the Wildcats having won six of seven and reaching the SEC Tournament championship game once again.

"That's the blessing of a double bye", Schofield said.

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