Never Better: Vols score biggest victory ever against Kentucky, 88-58

Tennessee guard Armani Moore (4) reacts along with teammate Kenny Hall (20) after making a basket during the second half against Kentucky at Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. Tennessee won 88-58 over Kentucky. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee guard Armani Moore (4) reacts along with teammate Kenny Hall (20) after making a basket during the second half against Kentucky at Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. Tennessee won 88-58 over Kentucky. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Cuonzo Martin talks about a rout of Kentucky

A standing ovation greeted Cuonzo Martin back onto the Thompson-Boling Arena floor Saturday afternoon.

Head down, he offered an acknowledging fist pump.

Martin joins the Tennessee postgame radio show after every game. The crowd that stuck around after Saturday's out-of-nowhere, smack-you-in-the-face and kick-you-when-you're-down 88-58 beatdown of visiting Kentucky was far larger than normal.

They wanted answers.

Everyone did.

A 30-point win over Kentucky? That Kentucky? Big Blue, and whatnot?

"Well," Martin said in the preceding press conference, "there you have it."

As of 1 p.m. Saturday, Kentucky's worst all-time men's basketball loss in 215 meetings with Tennessee was by 28 points. It came back in 1968.

As of 1 p.m. Saturday, coach John Calipari's worst loss as the curator of Kentucky basketball was by 17 points. That came back in 2010 against Connecticut.

As of 3:15 p.m. Saturday, the record books were rewritten.

"They deserved to beat us by 50 points today," Calipari said of his 25th-ranked Wildcats, who became only the fifth UK team to lose by 30 since 1950. "They played harder, they played rougher and they executed better."

That just about sums up a game that was never close. An announced sellout of 21,678 saw the Vols waltz to their third straight win and improve to 14-10 overall, 6-6 in the SEC.

They led by 24 at halftime and by as many as 39 before the final horn mercifully sounded.

Kentucky (17-8, 8-4) came in battered and left beaten. Playing without star freshman Nerlens Noel, who was lost for the season Tuesday to a torn ACL, the Wildcats were timid.

The Vols pounced.

An early 16-7 Tennessee lead swelled to 35-12, then to 43-18 and, finally, to 50-26 at halftime.

"They rode the car over us a couple of times — over and back, over and back," Calipari said.

Trae Golden was at the wheel. Shifting gears each time down floor, the UT point guard got his — 24 points — and gave some out — eight assists.

There were no potholes — zero turnovers.

"He did a great job running the team and being Trae Golden — attacking the rim, making plays," Martin said. "When that happens everything else falls in line."

The balanced scoring from UT in the opening half was like nothing seen in Knoxville all season. Skylar McBee canned two of his three 3-pointers. Golden penetrated the lane and pumped in 13. McRae played inside-out, good enough for 11. Jarnell Stokes scored five early points to start the assault. Kenny Hall came off the bench to add eight.

After canning UT's fourth 3-pointer of the half to boost a 48-22 lead, the referees corralled McRae, telling him to settle down.

"You can't quiet down in situations like this," he said afterward, laughing in hindsight following his 15-point outing. "Big game. We knew what the situation was. CBS on Saturday at 1 o'clock? If you weren't ready for this, you're not a basketball player."

The Wildcats have basketball players — some of whom are projected NBA draft picks — but they weren't ready. They shot 35.8 percent from the field, were outrebounded 39-21 and committed 15 turnovers leading to 24 UT points. Three UK players fouled out. One assistant, John Robic, was ejected for arguing with officials.

"Two wins on rivalry week, I don't think anyone would have expected that," Stokes said into a cell phone after the game. Tennessee's win garnered national attention, unlike Wednesday's win over Vanderbilt. A postgame interview was requested from Sirius XM College Sports Nation.

Stokes finished with nine points and nine rebounds, ending a streak of six straight double-doubles.

Hall, Stokes' front court mate, contributed 12 of Tennessee's 30 points off the bench. The strong showing came after Hall was benched at Vanderbilt. The senior forward made up for lost time. He brought the house down with a one-handed, and-one dunk with 14 minutes, 44 seconds remaining. It capped the Vols' 15-6 run that opened the second half.

"We just came out and had a lot of energy," Golden said. "I think I heard there were something around 22,000 people here today so we just wanted to make sure that we stayed aggressive, kept this win and got one for Tennessee."

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men's basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn

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Comments » 115

Bigger_Al writes:

Smack down.

bobaroo7 writes:

This makes that 101-40 Vol loss to the Cats a small payback for such a beatdown.!!!!!!!!!

sameolvolalum writes:

This is a good time for the chemistry to meld with our guys. 'No pity for the cats. As has been pointed out by many others, Calipari is dependent on talent alone. UK's defense was a joke. I doubt they're going to recover from these last two whoopins.

ColdBlackWind writes:

I suffered through a six month stay in the Crab Grass state and it was during the fall of 2011. Humiliation is not even close to describing losing to that bunch in football. It seems there was a bit of correction today! Go Vols! Congrats Coach Martin and the Vols. Oh Yeah.

climberNeeds2workATwendys writes:

I guess tennessee,short of their star power forward all year,was not wounded.a supposed tennessee writer will say anything to make a great win a less of an accomplishment.hmm..wonder why i could care less to subscribe to a newspaper.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

This win was so needed for all Volnation..Keep up the intensity Vols finish strong the rest of the way and an improbable trip to the big dance may be in your future..

stevefrommemphis writes:

What we saw today was a glimpse of what Kentucky basketball would be about if Adolph Corrupt had not started a tradition of skirting the rules and pushing the envelope at Lexington 80+ years ago. Kentucky basketball would not have any better basketball history than Ole Miss or Georgia. So I have no respect for Kentucky - only contempt.

It was the eighth Tennessee vs Kentucky game I have seen in person, and the Vols are 7-1 in those games.

Playsomeorange writes:

Hope miss Ashley (Judd) was on hand to witness!!!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to stevefrommemphis:

What we saw today was a glimpse of what Kentucky basketball would be about if Adolph Corrupt had not started a tradition of skirting the rules and pushing the envelope at Lexington 80+ years ago. Kentucky basketball would not have any better basketball history than Ole Miss or Georgia. So I have no respect for Kentucky - only contempt.

It was the eighth Tennessee vs Kentucky game I have seen in person, and the Vols are 7-1 in those games.

dang! Keep on coming. We need all the help we can get the rest of the way.

Wauconda_Vol writes:

Even Noel can't cover a 30 pt. deficit. Plus, a team that shoots 58% from the field is rarely going to lose an SEC game. That was pure destruction. Hot shooting, board crashing, and solid defense won that game. Not a missing person. Best game they've played under Cuonzo.

RoadTrip writes:

Our guys are only one more point guard and Maymon away from being a really good team that could go deep in the tourney. Everything is shaping up for next season to be the one that gets the program over the top.

golfman1975 writes:

Two tickets at mid-court...$200.00...box of buttered popcorn...$5.00...a large coke...$5.00...seeing coach Cal with a migraine...priceless.

Snapshot writes:

BEATDOWN! I'm sure we will see many excuses about not having Nerlens Noel. He might have made a difference today, but the cats still would have lost.

By the way, why would anyone name their kid Nerlens? lol

HallowedHill writes:

Calipari's worst loss in over 2 decades.

GRATZ!!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to Snapshot:

BEATDOWN! I'm sure we will see many excuses about not having Nerlens Noel. He might have made a difference today, but the cats still would have lost.

By the way, why would anyone name their kid Nerlens? lol

Maybe he was conceived in New Orleans and they didn't know how to spell it..Just a thought.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to golfman1975:

Two tickets at mid-court...$200.00...box of buttered popcorn...$5.00...a large coke...$5.00...seeing coach Cal with a migraine...priceless.

+1

tennrich1 writes:

I think we got a glimpse of what we can be when everyone is healthy (without Maymon of course) and playing there respective roles....good job home crowd...wish I could have been there!

volinowensboroky writes:

I truly enjoy beating KY since I live in KY and I married true blue blood with my wife's family. My best friend has never let me forget the 70 point blowout this is a little payback. Sorry the Noel is hurt but there have been plenty of times we received no sympathy from KY. I hope this team is starting to come together. They could actually win the rest of their games before the SEC tournament. Hope they do.

murrayvol writes:

in response to stevefrommemphis:

What we saw today was a glimpse of what Kentucky basketball would be about if Adolph Corrupt had not started a tradition of skirting the rules and pushing the envelope at Lexington 80+ years ago. Kentucky basketball would not have any better basketball history than Ole Miss or Georgia. So I have no respect for Kentucky - only contempt.

It was the eighth Tennessee vs Kentucky game I have seen in person, and the Vols are 7-1 in those games.

You should attend more often.

murrayvol writes:

Haven't felt this good about a Volunteer team effort since........well, it's been awhile

lemme_axya_this writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

Maybe he was conceived in New Orleans and they didn't know how to spell it..Just a thought.

Good lawd that was funny.

murrayvol writes:

in response to BIVOLAR_BEARE:

This win was so needed for all Volnation..Keep up the intensity Vols finish strong the rest of the way and an improbable trip to the big dance may be in your future..

Wish I could agree B_B but this time of year we can start reflecting on those woulda/coulda/shoulda games and ponder what might have been.

bigdisbig writes:

This is the same Vol team that got beat by Memphis, Ga. and stomped in the dirt by Ole Miss at home and everyone is crowing over beating a weak Ky. team. I still say Cuonzo is a lower level coach who gets lucky every now and then. The guys played a great game today....probably the best of the year in spite of a weak coach.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

This is the same Vol team that got beat by Memphis, Ga. and stomped in the dirt by Ole Miss at home and everyone is crowing over beating a weak Ky. team. I still say Cuonzo is a lower level coach who gets lucky every now and then. The guys played a great game today....probably the best of the year in spite of a weak coach.

Ha ha! WORST POST EVER!! 30-point blowout of the blue kittens was nothing short of satisfying! They only won by 10 @ Rupp WITH Noel and help from the refs! Deal with it! A great win for the Vols, Coach 'Zo, and UT athletics. Now, go cry yourself to sleep!

golfman1975 writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

This is the same Vol team that got beat by Memphis, Ga. and stomped in the dirt by Ole Miss at home and everyone is crowing over beating a weak Ky. team. I still say Cuonzo is a lower level coach who gets lucky every now and then. The guys played a great game today....probably the best of the year in spite of a weak coach.

By your logic...Cal should be fired. After all, he has a floor full of HS All Americans plus the water boy. We had a bunch of 2*s. No talent, no coach, no speed and beat THE UK, defending NC by 30. One game does not a season make, but it sure is fun

jack4444 writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

This is the same Vol team that got beat by Memphis, Ga. and stomped in the dirt by Ole Miss at home and everyone is crowing over beating a weak Ky. team. I still say Cuonzo is a lower level coach who gets lucky every now and then. The guys played a great game today....probably the best of the year in spite of a weak coach.

I can only imagine how bad Tennessee musta looked and played in the national championship football game against that weak FSU team, how lucky they were.

Goodness, man, smell the roses.

orangecountyvols writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

This is the same Vol team that got beat by Memphis, Ga. and stomped in the dirt by Ole Miss at home and everyone is crowing over beating a weak Ky. team. I still say Cuonzo is a lower level coach who gets lucky every now and then. The guys played a great game today....probably the best of the year in spite of a weak coach.

There always has to be a jerk like you running his mouth.

Let's just say clearly you are a "lower level fan" and be done with you.

On the other hand, if you're another troll, we understand.

budd#207344 writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

This is the same Vol team that got beat by Memphis, Ga. and stomped in the dirt by Ole Miss at home and everyone is crowing over beating a weak Ky. team. I still say Cuonzo is a lower level coach who gets lucky every now and then. The guys played a great game today....probably the best of the year in spite of a weak coach.

Your lack of BB knowledge is only superseded by your stupidity and arrogance. CCM just beat last year's NC. They have suffered the loss of their big man just the way we did earlier this year. Ky will continue to struggle until Calipari can get them to where CCM has now gotten the Vols, able to play with out their play maker. Let's see how quickly that happens.

thebadsamaritan writes:

Congrats to the Vols!
Well played!
Calipari losing does this Memphis grad's heart good.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to thebadsamaritan:

Congrats to the Vols!
Well played!
Calipari losing does this Memphis grad's heart good.

Glad to hear you enjoyed the game, bad..Be safe.

Volborn writes:

in response to golfman1975:

By your logic...Cal should be fired. After all, he has a floor full of HS All Americans plus the water boy. We had a bunch of 2*s. No talent, no coach, no speed and beat THE UK, defending NC by 30. One game does not a season make, but it sure is fun

Trae Golden 4*, McRae 4*, Stokes 5*, Hall 3*. Richardson is one of my favorites. I think he was a 2 or 3 *. I LOVE the effort of Armani Moore. He rebounds with such authority and is much stronger than he was in November. Moore is going to develop into an All-SEC type player IMO. We do not have the talent of UK, but we are not a bunch of 2* players. If Golden had been playing like this all year, Vols would be 19-5 instead of 14-10. If he keeps playing at this level, Tennessee may sniff 20th win in the SEC tourney.

Barring a collapse, this team has played it's way into the NIT and could make a run at the big dance(I can't believe I just wrote that!)

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

This is the same Vol team that got beat by Memphis, Ga. and stomped in the dirt by Ole Miss at home and everyone is crowing over beating a weak Ky. team. I still say Cuonzo is a lower level coach who gets lucky every now and then. The guys played a great game today....probably the best of the year in spite of a weak coach.

Your comment is way too personal. I won't bother to ask why. CCM leads Tenn to a 30-point win over Kentucky and you're less than satisfied. In your mind, he gets no credit for this win or any win, just blame for any loss. Why don't you grow a set and support this team AND its coach? I know you're a fan. Just bring it strong for both the players and the coach. There's plenty of room for you.

Theo writes:

in response to decades_vol:

Your comment is way too personal. I won't bother to ask why. CCM leads Tenn to a 30-point win over Kentucky and you're less than satisfied. In your mind, he gets no credit for this win or any win, just blame for any loss. Why don't you grow a set and support this team AND its coach? I know you're a fan. Just bring it strong for both the players and the coach. There's plenty of room for you.

You've just got to remember there are a few (and I do mean few) redneck "fans" who will never say a good word about Coach Martin. Really sad as that sort of stuff only hurts them. They can't even enjoy this great win because they don't like the coach. A sad, small existence.
Go Vols! Great win. Great to see this team starting to jell and play to their potential.

Colliervol writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

This is the same Vol team that got beat by Memphis, Ga. and stomped in the dirt by Ole Miss at home and everyone is crowing over beating a weak Ky. team. I still say Cuonzo is a lower level coach who gets lucky every now and then. The guys played a great game today....probably the best of the year in spite of a weak coach.

I have learned that some people are never going go be happy about anything. Mostly because they lead empty unhappy existences and just want to drag everybody down to their level. There are others on here just like you. (I don't have to name them. You know who you are.) I feel sad for all of you and am just thankful that I don't have to deal with sad sacks like you on a routine basis.

stevefrommemphis writes:

in response to Playsomeorange:

Hope miss Ashley (Judd) was on hand to witness!!!

Probably wasn't there - she's too busy trying to decide whether to run for the U.S. Senate.

stevefrommemphis writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

This is the same Vol team that got beat by Memphis, Ga. and stomped in the dirt by Ole Miss at home and everyone is crowing over beating a weak Ky. team. I still say Cuonzo is a lower level coach who gets lucky every now and then. The guys played a great game today....probably the best of the year in spite of a weak coach.

Either a troll, KNS employee trying to drive up the comments, or a teenager. Memphis = poor shooting night vs a team that couldn't miss. Georgia = point guard hurt, going to get a chance to even the score at Athens on March 2. Ole Miss = I hope UT gets another chance to play them in the SEC Tournament.

claiborneh writes:

ESPN more interested in Kentucky' first game without their star power forward resulted in blowout than the fact Tennessee played a solid game. Tennessee's tournament hopes are over unless they win the entire SEC tournament (if they can beat Florida)

That_One_Fellar writes:

in response to murrayvol:

Wish I could agree B_B but this time of year we can start reflecting on those woulda/coulda/shoulda games and ponder what might have been.

I.E. Georgetown....

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

This is the same Vol team that got beat by Memphis, Ga. and stomped in the dirt by Ole Miss at home and everyone is crowing over beating a weak Ky. team. I still say Cuonzo is a lower level coach who gets lucky every now and then. The guys played a great game today....probably the best of the year in spite of a weak coach.

I still say you are a lower level person

SouthPaVol writes:

in response to Volborn:

Trae Golden 4*, McRae 4*, Stokes 5*, Hall 3*. Richardson is one of my favorites. I think he was a 2 or 3 *. I LOVE the effort of Armani Moore. He rebounds with such authority and is much stronger than he was in November. Moore is going to develop into an All-SEC type player IMO. We do not have the talent of UK, but we are not a bunch of 2* players. If Golden had been playing like this all year, Vols would be 19-5 instead of 14-10. If he keeps playing at this level, Tennessee may sniff 20th win in the SEC tourney.

Barring a collapse, this team has played it's way into the NIT and could make a run at the big dance(I can't believe I just wrote that!)

VB, I can't either. LOL But if the Vols win the rest (except FLA) then it will likely come down to their second--or even third-- SEC tournament win to get to the big dance, similar to last year.

This team is showing some closing skills, also similar to last year's team. Would like to see a UT-Ole Miss match up in the SEC tourney. We owe the Rebels a beat-down, in a bad way.

Unfortunately as bad as the SEC is across the board this year, we may have to win the SEC tourney to get into the big dance. Go Vols!

mlynn1 writes:

in response to bigdisbig:

This is the same Vol team that got beat by Memphis, Ga. and stomped in the dirt by Ole Miss at home and everyone is crowing over beating a weak Ky. team. I still say Cuonzo is a lower level coach who gets lucky every now and then. The guys played a great game today....probably the best of the year in spite of a weak coach.

Any true Tennessee fan knows the significance of beating Kentucky in basketball, you just proved your no Tennessee fan so your opinion doesn't count. The best thing for you to do is go on somewhere else.

GainesvilleVol1 writes:

Congrats to the Vols on a great win!! Keep the momementum rolling!!

GO VOLS!!!

UK2K writes:

Thanks for the classless win Vols. Up 30 and still playing your starters and full court pressing?? Nice call coach. Enjoy your once in 50 years success against UK. We are down but not out.Your Vols won't shoot 58% the rest of the season. Promise you.

SevenT writes:

Tennessee has the opportunity to beat Kentucky 1 out of 10 times they play. Too bad the win is wasted because this horrible program will not even make the NIT. A couple of years ago they were interesting because Pearl brought in thugs and cheated to get recruits, but that is not history.

Just Saying

8ball writes:

in response to UK2K:

Thanks for the classless win Vols. Up 30 and still playing your starters and full court pressing?? Nice call coach. Enjoy your once in 50 years success against UK. We are down but not out.Your Vols won't shoot 58% the rest of the season. Promise you.

Cry baby, don't be so upset its just a basketball game, I say game.

mtnbikrtn writes:

in response to UK2K:

Thanks for the classless win Vols. Up 30 and still playing your starters and full court pressing?? Nice call coach. Enjoy your once in 50 years success against UK. We are down but not out.Your Vols won't shoot 58% the rest of the season. Promise you.

This comment makes my day!

UT4prez writes:

in response to UK2K:

Thanks for the classless win Vols. Up 30 and still playing your starters and full court pressing?? Nice call coach. Enjoy your once in 50 years success against UK. We are down but not out.Your Vols won't shoot 58% the rest of the season. Promise you.

You're funny. I actually loved the call to press. It avoided complacency and forced your boys to use more time coming up the floor. You're right though. Your cats would never have a starter in late in a blow out would they? That's funny.

Those saying we beat the defending NC are technically correct. However, this KY in no way resembles last year's team. The name on the jerseys match but the names on the roster do not.

8ball writes:

in response to SevenT:

Tennessee has the opportunity to beat Kentucky 1 out of 10 times they play. Too bad the win is wasted because this horrible program will not even make the NIT. A couple of years ago they were interesting because Pearl brought in thugs and cheated to get recruits, but that is not history.

Just Saying

Its just a game sevenT I hope you were able to sleep last night but I doubt it.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to UK2K:

Thanks for the classless win Vols. Up 30 and still playing your starters and full court pressing?? Nice call coach. Enjoy your once in 50 years success against UK. We are down but not out.Your Vols won't shoot 58% the rest of the season. Promise you.

Ewe are welcome..30 points, Bwhahahahahahahaha!!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to SevenT:

Tennessee has the opportunity to beat Kentucky 1 out of 10 times they play. Too bad the win is wasted because this horrible program will not even make the NIT. A couple of years ago they were interesting because Pearl brought in thugs and cheated to get recruits, but that is not history.

Just Saying

That's a lot better odds than 1 out of 27 like the mildcats fb team against UT..jUsT sayin'

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