No. 3 Oklahoma beats Kentucky

CLEARWATER, Fla. – The No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to knock off the No. 21 Kentucky Wildcats in the opening game for both teams at the inaugural ESPN St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational, 9-1.

Lauren Johnson scored the game’s opening run, as she launched a home run to right field to lead off the game.

The Wildcats carried the 1-0 lead into the fourth, where a ball found the grass for a triple for the Sooners offense, and after a walk – Sydney Romero homered to left to get the Sooners on the board.

Don’t overlook what point guard Jordan Bone does for Vols

Ashton Hagans (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky faces a SEC showdown with Tennessee Saturday night in Rupp Arena. The Volunteers have been terrific all season and many believe that junior Grant Williams is the top contender for SEC Player of the Year and senior Admiral Schofield is the other Tennessee player that gets the most national attention.

But don’t overlook guard Jordan Bone. Tennessee coach Rick Barnes says the junior has “improved as much as anyone I’ve coached” and some even are making a case that Bone might be Tennessee’s most important player.

Admiral Schofield on UK: “”I think this year their camaraderie is at a whole different level.”

Tennessee’s defense will test UK Saturday. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Tennessee senior Admiral Schofield had another double-double in Wednesday night’s win over South Carolina for the No. 1  Vols that keeps Tennessee unbeaten in SEC play going into Saturday night’s game at Kentucky.

The Vols won at Rupp Arena last year and also in Knoxville before losing to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament title game in St. Louis.

Vols don’t have recruiting rankings but “they don’t beat themselves”

P.J. Washington and Tennessee’s Grant Williams will square off again Saturday. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky coach John Calipari has heaped praise on Tennessee all season … and that certainly hasn’t changed now that the game is almost here.

“Tennessee is just so good,” the UK coach said. “They don’t beat themselves. They play efficient on both sides. They’re physical. They’re experienced. They’ve got older players.”

Tennessee became the first team to be ranked No. 1 without a top 100 recruit since Oklahoma during the 2015-16 season. Oklahoma reached the Final Four that season. Tennessee’s highest ranked recruit is freshman D.J. Burns at 108 — and he’s being redshirted.

Use of replays in college sports is a no-brainer – or is it?

Vicky Graff Photo

By KEITH PEEL, Contributing Writer

First, the trio of officials working the UK-LSU game Tuesday night did not cost the Wildcats the 73-71 loss. Also the block/charge call that was overturned in the UofL-Duke game also was not the reason Duke was able to pull out a 71-69 victory after trailing the Cardinals by 23 points midway through the second half.

In the Kentucky-LSU game the Tigers played an extremely physical game and the Wildcats wilted down the stretch. UK cost itself any chance at a victory by hitting only 16 of 23 free throws — and some of those misses were the front end of a 1 and 1 — and letting the Tigers steal the ball eight times. That’s what cost UK the game.

Reid Travis on UK’s lack of focus on details in second half of LSU loss (Larry Vaught/Verizon Video)

PJ Washington makes Naismith Trophy Midseason Watch List

PJ Washington (Jeff Houchin Photo)

ATLANTA – A 20-point scorer in six of the last seven games, PJ Washington has surged into national player of the year discussion and earned his way onto the midseason watch list for the 2019 Citizen Naismith Trophy, awarded annually by the Atlanta Tipoff Club to the national player of the year.

Washington was one of 30 players on the midseason watch list released Tuesday. He’s one of three players from the Southeastern Conference on the list.

Kentucky-LSU Photo Gallery by Jeff Houchin

Dick Vitale will receive Lifetime Achievement Award

Dick Vitale, left (Jeff Houchin Photo)

New York, NY – The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) announced that Dick Vitale, one of the most well-known and entertaining sports analysts ever, will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sports this year at the 40th Annual Sports Emmy® Awards May 20th.

“Dick Vitale is one of the most unique, effusive and recognizable voices in sports broadcasting today,” said Adam Sharp, President and CEO, NATAS.  “His knowledge, enthusiasm and love of the game is captured in every comment, call and catchphrase he creates.  He is a master behind the microphone and a great humanitarian.  The National Academy could not be more proud to honor him with our distinguished, Lifetime Achievement Awards for Sports!”

Reid Travis: “We do ourselves a disservice to get hung up on one call.”

Reid Travis (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Because he was on the bench when LSU scored its winning goal in Tuesday’s 73-71 win over Kentucky, senior Reid Travis didn’t get a good look at “all the chaos” involved with the controversial play that ended UK’s 10-game winning streak.

“I saw the replay. I think it’s a tough call to make in live action (to call basket interference). Obviously, I can’t put myself in their (the officials’) shoes and make that call,” Travis, who had nine points and nine rebounds in 37 minutes, said.