Kentucky pulls away from Vols, 75-65

'I think we're fine' says Martin after 0-3 SEC start

James Crisp/associated press
Tennessee's Jordan McRae, middle, is wrapped up by, from left, Kentucky's Julius Mays, Alex Poythress, and Nerlens Noel during the second half at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., on Tuesday. Kentucky defeated Tennessee 75-65.

Photo by James Crisp

James Crisp/associated press Tennessee's Jordan McRae, middle, is wrapped up by, from left, Kentucky's Julius Mays, Alex Poythress, and Nerlens Noel during the second half at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., on Tuesday. Kentucky defeated Tennessee 75-65.

James Crisp/associated press
Tennessee's Jordan McRae, middle, is wrapped up by, from left, Kentucky's Julius Mays, Alex Poythress, and Nerlens Noel during the second half at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., on Tuesday. Kentucky defeated Tennessee 75-65.

Photo by James Crisp

James Crisp/associated press Tennessee's Jordan McRae, middle, is wrapped up by, from left, Kentucky's Julius Mays, Alex Poythress, and Nerlens Noel during the second half at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., on Tuesday. Kentucky defeated Tennessee 75-65.

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Leading a charge of cheers in a catacomb under the Rupp Arena stands Tuesday night, Jordan McRae clamored to take the floor.

As the circle of Tennessee basketball players broke loose, McRae hopped and bopped toward the light.

"Ohh, we need this one, boys, we need this one," the junior pleaded.

The Vols needed it, but so did defending national champion Kentucky.

And a pair of reserves grabbed the game for the Wildcats.

It wasn't Nerlens Noel. It wasn't Archie Goodwin. It wasn't Willie Cauley-Stein.

In the closing five minutes, two huge 3-pointers by Julius Mays and back-to-back contested shots by Kyle Wiltjer pushed Kentucky past Tennessee, 75-65, on rainy, sleety, chilly Tuesday night in Lexington.

All those future NBA players on the Kentucky roster? They cheered for Mays and Wiltjer along with the 24,033 at Rupp, where the Vols fell to 4-34 all-time.

"We just really didn't want to fall to 0-3 (in the SEC) and then have to claw and dig our way out of this," said McRae, after doing all he could as UT's lone double-digit scorer with a game-high 23 points.

But now Tennessee (8-7) is indeed 0-3 in conference and floundering on a four-game losing streak.

After trailing 34-31 at halftime, the Vols took their only lead of the second half, 54-53, on a 3-pointer from the wing by Derek Reese with 7 minutes, 19 seconds left. They couldn't close.

"We can get back in the game, but we have to start not putting ourselves in those spots over and over," McRae said.

With Kentucky (11-5, 2-1) leading 58-56 at the 5:08 mark, Mays sandwiched a pair of McRae free throws with two cold-blooded 3s.

As the Vols tried to counter, Wiltjer hit a turn-around hook and a runner from the wing.

UT would get no closer than six the rest of the way. Kentucky hit 13 of 20 shots after halftime.

"Our guys put ourselves in position, but just didn't capitalize," said Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin.

Wiltjer's 17 points led four double-digit scorers from Kentucky (11-5, 2-1). Noel crammed his stat line with 12 points, nine rebounds, six blocks and four steals.

Six different Vols opened the scoring for UT before McRae canned three straight to give UT a 19-17 lead early, but Kentucky surged with an 8-0 run. The Wildcats enjoyed a 7-11 to 0-0 advantage from the free-throw line in the half.

"We definitely thought we were getting fouled, but in the second half I thought we did a good job of putting our heads down and forcing the refs to make calls," said McRae, who made six of eight from the stripe as UT shot 11-for-17 from the line after halftime.

Battling self-induced foul trouble, UT forward Jarnell Stokes played only five second-half minutes. Nearly one year after saying, "I plan on winning, before I leave, at Rupp Arena," Stokes scored four points and grabbed five rebounds over 15 minutes in the loss.

Standing two hours later in the same tunnel where McRae proclaimed UT's need for a win, Martin said the Vols aren't ready to play with desperation.

"I think we're fine," the coach, before racing out of Rupp to catch the last flight leaving Lexington before ice shut down the airport. "As long as we play like we're playing now, it's a matter of getting home, getting over that hump."

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

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Comments » 43

stevefrommemphis writes:

If DeVoe, Green, and Pearl had the opportunity to ask the refs to check the monitors to correct calls at Lexington, the Vols might have 12-15 wins there since 1978 instead of 2. Why does Calipari get to have calls reviewed?

VolFan92 writes:

Has anyone done a plus-minus on Trae Golden? Bro is killing us.

Show-me-your-TDs writes:

The referees get paid their dues tonight

Show-me-your-TDs writes:

in response to Show-me-your-TDs:

The referees get paid their dues tonight

I think I would boycott all games at Rupp Arena if I was any SEC team

TheFuj writes:

I agree the loss is not on the refs, but KY sure gets many calls. Vols had their chances. Free throws still a issue and look to be all year. Only 1 TN in double figures. Golden had 5 turnovers and 7 pts. Richardsons two free throws near end of game were just embarrassing.

Now, on the refs. Again, Vols did enough to lose game, but KY really got some help. Both teams play aggressive defense. Hard to see how one team has 25 fouls to another 17. Not saying TN did not commit the 25 fouls, just saying one could call the same foul on the other end.
Difference is Cal works the officals constantly. Every call against KY he goes crazy. Wants a explanation. Martin just stands there with a smirk on his face.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Most of you thought we'd lose by 20. But a loss is a loss.

OldVols68 writes:

Woe is us; as usual we hire mid-level coaches who are CHEEEEEPER and this is what we get: bottom of the barrel teams. Jeeeeeeeezzzzz, is it ever going to get better??? We had the worse defense in college football, now we have the worst offense in college basketball:)

Is it time for tennis and golf??? Oh yeah we suck at those as well.....probably.

SummittsCourt writes:

This is not a well coached team we have fans. I only saw the last 10 minutes, but during that timeframe I saw 10, count 'em, 10 bad shots that had no chance of going in. Well coached teams don't take bad shots over and over. There is talent on the Vols, but there just isn't enough good coaching. This was a very winnable game, a game the UT program needed badly and they came up short and coach Martin says, "we're fine"?

Classof72 writes:

""I think we're fine," the coach (said)."

Fine. As in 'fee-nay'. That is to say: Finished. Over. Done.

McRae is a basketball player. One is not enough.

eb502us#225637 writes:

The quote from coach Martin sums up this team and his coaching....."I think we're fine"

He shows ZERO ability to coach or get the most out of the players and his lack of emotion during the game is the reason we can't beat an SEC team.

Perhaps he'll show a little more emotion when Dave Hart calls his next press conference.

brod writes:

ut should have been up by at least 10 at halftime. kentucky played poorly in the first half but ut didn't capitalize. turnovers are killing the team. wanted - a good point guard. doesn't have to be steve nash. just a solid point guard that can cut down on turnovers.

JDX47 writes:

This is a very hard team to watch. There is absolutely no offensive set that looks fluid. It looks like no one really knows what to do. When your only offense is get it to one guy and see if he can get fouled or throw up a shot, you are in trouble. It is a pitiful sight.

kwcoach writes:

Yeah, bad players, bad basketball IQ. Watch them pick and roll...they don't know which way to roll or why to do it. They defend for a while then get exposed and can't shoot.

nashvol writes:

It appeared that the only participants that were intimidated by Rupp Arena were the officials.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

I checked the yahoo sports feed, right before half, as UK sank,wait for it, 2 ft's to go up at half.

I knew, instinctively, prior to looking at the box score, that UT was being screwed by the refs.

Looked at the box score...voila!!!
UK, 7-11 FT's. UT, 0-0. UT, 157-1/3 fouls, UK, 3.

Good old Rupp.

dcap8424 writes:

in response to OldVols68:

Woe is us; as usual we hire mid-level coaches who are CHEEEEEPER and this is what we get: bottom of the barrel teams. Jeeeeeeeezzzzz, is it ever going to get better??? We had the worse defense in college football, now we have the worst offense in college basketball:)

Is it time for tennis and golf??? Oh yeah we suck at those as well.....probably.

Bruce came from Wisconsin-Milwaukee and took us to #1 ranking, sweet sixteens and our first elite eight so... I wouldn't say mid-level coaches are always bad. Everyone has to start somewhere.

John_10065 writes:

We need a couple more offensive weapons to make this team work. We simply don't have enough shooters.

I can't blame Martin for a group of brick chunkers most of which he DIDN'T recruit.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to dcap8424:

Bruce came from Wisconsin-Milwaukee and took us to #1 ranking, sweet sixteens and our first elite eight so... I wouldn't say mid-level coaches are always bad. Everyone has to start somewhere.

It'd be nice if we could get one who had a little more on his resume than one good season at Missouri State but still didn't make the NCAA tournament.

dcap8424 writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

It'd be nice if we could get one who had a little more on his resume than one good season at Missouri State but still didn't make the NCAA tournament.

Very true. Some success at the Div. 1 level would be nice.

NashvillePreds writes:

Didn't watch a minute of the game. No need.
We all knew the outcome prior to the tip.
Tennessee is simply a losing organization at this point. Whether it be on the gridiron, hardwood, or diamond, our fate is inevitable. The University of Tennessee athletes, coaches, and administrators have reached a level of incompetence that results in no hope of victory.
Mark another one up.

silvertr6#393170 writes:

This team not showing anything that is worth talking about. Forget about this year?

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to silvertr6#393170:

This team not showing anything that is worth talking about. Forget about this year?

As long as Martin feels that he only needs to recruit mediocre players to Tennessee, he will not succeed. We won't make the tournament this year, and probably not next, and that should be enough to terminate his contract and bring back the coach who got us to the tournament 100% of the time he was here, Bruce Pearl.

samvol writes:

Billy Gillispie = Counzo Martin

Fall_Creek_Vols writes:

in response to John_10065:

We need a couple more offensive weapons to make this team work. We simply don't have enough shooters.

I can't blame Martin for a group of brick chunkers most of which he DIDN'T recruit.

Well said, John. This team just doesn't have the horses and we are in serious need of a couple of thoroughbreds. It is NOT the coach's fault...not yet.

I'm pretty sure a healthy Jerrone Maymon would have made a difference in this game. Perhaps the refs would have called a few more on Noel every time he crawled up his back to a rebound...unlike last night.

Yes, I agree the refs were stinkin'. The flagrant foul on McBee was bogus. So is Cheatin' Calipari's spell over every ref at Rupp. I'd rather be competitive (which we were) and lose than to win like that.

hikerdude writes:

"I think we're fine." The man is delusional. We lost to Ala for heaven's sake. And to a mediocre Ky team. How can we be fine?

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

It'd be nice if we could get one who had a little more on his resume than one good season at Missouri State but still didn't make the NCAA tournament.

Bruce Pearl also won big at W-M and took them to the sweet 16 as well. Coach Martin was 60-41 in three seasons at SW-Missouri St. and no big wins to his credit. The next one he gets will be his first one.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

Bruce Pearl also won big at W-M and took them to the sweet 16 as well. Coach Martin was 60-41 in three seasons at SW-Missouri St. and no big wins to his credit. The next one he gets will be his first one.

We DID beat Florida twice last year. I say those wins were huge. We don't need to even consider replacing Martin. Not till he shows us different.
Our losses have been mainly poor play by a couple guys who last year were great one game and terrible the next. If I was Martin I'd be questioning some loyalties from a couple of players. just sayin'... AND without using names.

Most likely it's just pressure and a slump. It does happen.

One_in_West_Knox writes:

in response to amyinsparta:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What about Skylar McBee and Kenny Hall, both seniors?? Each has played high level ball for three years. McBee is just a three-point threat (???) and can play defense. Hall is foul prone and doesn't seem to want to score more.

And then, Kentucky had faced Elston Turner, a senior.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

btw 60 and 41 only shows that he lost 41 games mostly his first two seasons. He won the conference his last season if I remember correctly.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Icthus:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

He does SEEM to be the only one playing with a fire in his belly! But there were some others who showed up fairly well against a talented Kentucky team in a gym Kentucky owns in more ways than a deed.(cept there game before us)hehe

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to hikerdude:

"I think we're fine." The man is delusional. We lost to Ala for heaven's sake. And to a mediocre Ky team. How can we be fine?

Perhaps not the best choice of words but do you really think he was "fine" with this game?? It's eatin' him up inside. You know it is.
But let me translate the "coach speak" for you.

I(coach Martin) think(stupid turnovers)we're(lousy plays)just(how could he hand them the ball like that)fine(at this rate I'll have to bench all the starters).(LAPS SUICIDES FREETHROWs till their arms fall off HANDLING THE BALL ATTEMPtS AT SKILLS PRACTICE)

so on and so forth

manoffewwords writes:

BBB = Bring Bruce Back !

Scoon writes:

in response to Fall_Creek_Vols:

Well said, John. This team just doesn't have the horses and we are in serious need of a couple of thoroughbreds. It is NOT the coach's fault...not yet.

I'm pretty sure a healthy Jerrone Maymon would have made a difference in this game. Perhaps the refs would have called a few more on Noel every time he crawled up his back to a rebound...unlike last night.

Yes, I agree the refs were stinkin'. The flagrant foul on McBee was bogus. So is Cheatin' Calipari's spell over every ref at Rupp. I'd rather be competitive (which we were) and lose than to win like that.

"I'd rather be competitive (which we were) and lose than to win like that."

Sure you would.

And, true thoroughbreds, the best kind, are only bred and reared in Kentucky.

decades_vol (Inactive) writes:

I've heard quite a few "bring back Bruce" comments on this site, especially recently. Folks, if Pearl were to coach at UT again, he would have to run a flawless program. Does anybody really think he could do that with the NCAA breathing down his neck? I doubt it. Put him back in the same position and the NCAA will watch where he throws his chewing gum. Any mistakes and Pearl would be the second coming of Kelvin Samson. Tennessee would be the biggest loser in this situation. All in all, I just don't think it would work. Nothing against the man himself (I always liked him), but the risk is just too great. Not trying to be a conspiracy theorist here, but I think the NCAA would love to catch Pearl in another rules violation. Bottom line, he is the Jim Tressel of college basketball right now, at least in the eyes of the NCAA. Look, I really hope that Pearl does well. I really do. I just don't think he can coach at UT anymore. He's just too big a risk for the University. The guy will be under a microscope for a good while. There'll be no slaps on the wrist for any Pearl-coached program the second time around. Just ask Kelvin Samson.

born2ride writes:

McRae is the only bright spot in a dismal year.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to born2ride:

McRae is the only bright spot in a dismal year.

dismal year??? let's get to February. It's barely winter in Tennessee. Where you from?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Scoon:

"I'd rather be competitive (which we were) and lose than to win like that."

Sure you would.

And, true thoroughbreds, the best kind, are only bred and reared in Kentucky.

So you think cheatin's ok? I'm not sayin' Kentucky cheated...or the refs., but I think the guy you responded to thought so. Winning by cheating is not really winning. Of course you know that right?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to decades_vol:

I've heard quite a few "bring back Bruce" comments on this site, especially recently. Folks, if Pearl were to coach at UT again, he would have to run a flawless program. Does anybody really think he could do that with the NCAA breathing down his neck? I doubt it. Put him back in the same position and the NCAA will watch where he throws his chewing gum. Any mistakes and Pearl would be the second coming of Kelvin Samson. Tennessee would be the biggest loser in this situation. All in all, I just don't think it would work. Nothing against the man himself (I always liked him), but the risk is just too great. Not trying to be a conspiracy theorist here, but I think the NCAA would love to catch Pearl in another rules violation. Bottom line, he is the Jim Tressel of college basketball right now, at least in the eyes of the NCAA. Look, I really hope that Pearl does well. I really do. I just don't think he can coach at UT anymore. He's just too big a risk for the University. The guy will be under a microscope for a good while. There'll be no slaps on the wrist for any Pearl-coached program the second time around. Just ask Kelvin Samson.

JHMO. But I doubt seriously the NCDouble darned A cares anything about Pearl. I doubt they have the time to watch any coach like you said. However with technology the way it is it wouldn't be hard for someone to sneak a camera in on Pearl's recruiting efforts.

'sides...we got a coach.

oldvoltimer62 writes:

Fire Bonzo.

Scoon writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

So you think cheatin's ok? I'm not sayin' Kentucky cheated...or the refs., but I think the guy you responded to thought so. Winning by cheating is not really winning. Of course you know that right?

Cats didn't cheat, but you can't reason with an idiot. Any time/every time Cats win, someone on here up and hollers we cheated. If this were true, then by this time we should be infinitely beyond 'Masters of the Black Belt' in slicksterness and charlatanism. I mean that should have a title totally of it's own, there. But, anyhow...we're slick all right, but not in the ways of cheatin. We're slick in knowledge and ability to handle the ball and to handle the ball WELL! Simply put... we're just typically and normally good, and far beyond any vol in bb, although this year has proven to be the exception. He said "I'd rather be competitive (which we were) and lose than to win like that.", so I just basically replied, "sure" as in "sure you would" as in sarcasm towards him....duh... My reply has nothing to do with confirming his stupid accusations/innuendoes of KY's misdeeds or non-misdeeds. It was called sarcasm, smart alecness. Get it?

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to Scoon:

Cats didn't cheat, but you can't reason with an idiot. Any time/every time Cats win, someone on here up and hollers we cheated. If this were true, then by this time we should be infinitely beyond 'Masters of the Black Belt' in slicksterness and charlatanism. I mean that should have a title totally of it's own, there. But, anyhow...we're slick all right, but not in the ways of cheatin. We're slick in knowledge and ability to handle the ball and to handle the ball WELL! Simply put... we're just typically and normally good, and far beyond any vol in bb, although this year has proven to be the exception. He said "I'd rather be competitive (which we were) and lose than to win like that.", so I just basically replied, "sure" as in "sure you would" as in sarcasm towards him....duh... My reply has nothing to do with confirming his stupid accusations/innuendoes of KY's misdeeds or non-misdeeds. It was called sarcasm, smart alecness. Get it?

You're the enemy.

Scoon writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

You're the enemy.

Speaking of which, has anybody seen 'PooBear??

Scoon writes:

in response to Scoon:

Speaking of which, has anybody seen 'PooBear??

Just kiddin there, 'Poo...

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