Game breakdown from UK’s win over Tennessee
Having won two straight after struggling, No. 13 UK men’s basketball was able to get its revenge on the Tennessee Volunteers beating them at Rupp Arena 83-58. After losing to the Volunteers in Knoxville, UK was able to shut down Tennessee from the tip. This win moves the Cats to 11-2 in SEC play this season. They are currently tied for first in the conference with Florida who they will face next Saturday in Rupp Arena. During the first half the Cats got off to a slow start shooting the ball but were able to heat up and go on multiple runs throughout the half. The strong showing from Malik Monk would help give the Cats a 15 point lead going into halftime. The second half was led by guard Isaiah Briscoe as he would score all 12 of his points in the second half. Along with his 12 points, Briscoe would tally up four rebounds and six assists which would be tied for the team high with fellow guard De Aaron Fox.
As the Cats defeated the Volunteers they will have to regroup and prepare to face the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens on Saturday. The Bulldogs will be a tough matchup for the Cats as they get ready to go on a two game road trip.
MVP: Malik Monk
The first half was dominated by Monk as he would score 16 points and pull down four rebounds going into the halftime break. Monk would also play a critical role in the Cats 18-3 run that they put together against the Volunteers. During that stretch he would knock down two of his four first half three s. In the second half Monk would cool off scoring only 4 points the remainder of the game. The story of the game for Monk wasn t just his ability to score but it was his effort to get more rebounds racking up seven Tuesday night. His eight rebounds would be a career high in his short time at UK.
Turning Point: Cats 18-3 run in first half
It was a three point show for the Cats for almost five minutes in the first half as they went on a huge run against the Vols. The Cats would knock down five three pointers during this stretch. Two three point shots each from Monk and Derek Willis played a huge role on the Cats run against Tennessee. A dunk by Bam Adebayo brought the house down during this run. The dunk put UK up by 13 points with 8:25 to go in the first half. By the time the nearly five minute run was over, the Cats would take a 16 point lead giving them a nice spread to finish off the first half.
Trending Up: Ball Security
In their last two games against Alabama and LSU, the Cats seemed to struggle with their ball security. In the LSU game the Cats had 14 turnovers and in the Alabama game they had 12 turnovers, but tonight was a different story. UK would only commit seven turnovers the entire game, and only three up until the final minutes of the game which is very impressive. The seven turnovers was the teams second lowest total this season. Ball security from their guards will be crucial down the stretch if the Cats want to make a deep run in March. Being smart with the ball from their guards made the Cats look like one of the top teams in the country.
Trending Up: Ball Movement
The amount of ball movement the Cats had in Tuesday night s game was something Cats fans enjoyed against the Volunteers. UK would finish the game dishing out 17 assists as a team with De Aaron Fox and Isaiah Briscoe having six each. Ball movement and assists like the Cats showed tonight will make them a tough team to face over moving forward. With all of the passing by the Cats, they seemed to be taking more time with the shot clock and being more patient on offense. The willingness to pass would affect the Cats to some point making them force shots due to the shot clock winding down. Overall it was an impressive team showing getting everyone involved.