By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky had its way with Tennessee earlier in Rupp Arena when the Vols were ranked No. 1 and coach John Calipari even had to make fans stop chanting “overrated” at the Vols.
Saturday it was the Vols dishing out the butt-kicking with a 71-52 rout of Kentucky in a game that was never really that close the final 30 minutes.
“We got spanked pretty good. We did it to them at our place. They did it to us. Now we better move on,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said after losing to Tennessee for the fourth straight time in Knoxville since Rick Barnes took over as head coach. “It looks like we were intimidated which I don’t understand because it has not happened all year. We just got beat every way but loose.”
Kentucky was ineffective offensively the entire game. It had a nine-minute stretch the first half without scoring and then went over five minutes in the second half without a field goal.
Kentucky’s only double-figure scorer was PJ Washington, who had 13 points but was limited to 30 minutes because of early foul trouble.
“Every time I caught the ball or went baseline they sent two people to me. Credit them. They played great defensively and way better on the offensive end. They just played better than us,” Washington, was 9-for-13 from the foul linen 2-for-6 from the field with three rebounds.
“PJ is not a selfish guy. If he doesn’t have them (shots), he is going to make the right plays for the team,” Nick Richards said.
Washington said UK missed senior center Reid Travis, who was out with a knee injury.
“But we can’t blame that. We didn’t play up to our abilities at all,” Washington said. “We just have to bounce back from it.”
“This happens with Reid out,” Calipari said. “We just didn’t have anybody that would fight.”
Kentucky was 14-for-44 from the field, a big reason it had a season-low 52 points. Washington, Tyler Herro (2-for-11) and Keldon Johnson (2-for-9) were a combined 6-for-26 from the field. Throw in a 2-for-6 for Ashton Hagans and it goes to 8-for-32 for four starters.
Richards had eight points, seven rebounds and three blocks. But he was just 1-for-4 from the field.
“Nick was pretty good the first half but the second half he didn’t get near a blocked shot. Then why am I playing you?” Calipari said.
Kentucky was 5-for-19 from 3-point range while Tennessee was 8-for-22. The Vols were 27-for-62 overall from the field. They also dominated points in the pain 28-10 and made just five turnovers against UK’s soft defense.
Grant Williams, the likely SEC Player of the Year again, had 24 p points and seven rebounds for UK. The game-changer for the Vols was point guard Jordan Bone. He had 27 points on 11-for-15 shooting along with three rebounds, three assists and no turnovers to dominate his matchup with Hagans, who had five points, five rebounds, three assists and two turnovers.
“Talk about Williams and Schofield, but this kid Bone I think is the best guard in the conference,” UK Radio Network analyst Mike Pratt said.
“He got downhill on us,” Calipari said. “We tried to do some stuff and couldn’t get our guards to get in the lane. We couldn’t get by him.”