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Feb 3, 2024 11:18 pm

No. 5 Tennessee knocks off rival No. 10 Kentucky

Zakai Zeigler matched his career best of 26 points and recorded a career-high 13 assists to help No. 5 Tennessee notch a 103-92 victory over No. 10 Kentucky on Saturday night in Southeastern Conference play at Lexington, Ky.

Josiah-Jordan James also scored 26 points to set a career high for Tennessee (16-5, 6-2 SEC), which set a season best for points scored during the wire-to-wire victory.

Dalton Knecht added 16 points and Santiago Vescovi and Jonas Aidoo had 11 points apiece for the Volunteers, who have won five of their past six games.

Rob Dillingham established career highs of 35 points and six 3-pointers off the bench before fouling out for Kentucky (15-6, 5-4), which lost for the third time in four games.

Antonio Reeves scored 21 points and Reed Sheppard added 16 points and six assists before fouling out for the Wildcats.

Kentucky played without guard D.J. Wagner (ankle) for the second straight contest.

Tennessee made 48.6 percent of its shots, including 12 of 30 from 3-point range. Knecht was just 5-of-14 shooting to end a streak of six straight games of 25 or more points.

The Wildcats connected on 49.3 percent of their attempts and were 12 of 27 from behind the arc. Dillingham was 14 of 20 from the field. Ugonna Onyenso had four blocked shots for Kentucky.

Sheppard opened the second half with a 3-pointer as Kentucky moved within 46-45 before the Volunteers went on a 13-2 burst. Ziegler finished the run with a layup to give Tennessee a 59-47 lead with 15:05 left.

Kentucky later moved within nine before Tobe Awaka converted back-to-back hoops and Vescovi drilled a 3-pointer as the Volunteers increased their lead to 76-60 with 9:22 remaining.

The Wildcats got back into the game with an 11-2 run. Sheppard knocked down a 3-pointer to pull Kentucky within 78-71 with 5:23 left.

It was an eight-point differential with under three minutes left before James scored five points in 22 seconds to push Tennessee’s lead to 89-76 with 2:13 left, and the Volunteers went on to close it out.

Zeigler scored 13 first-half points as Tennessee held a 46-42 lead at the break. Dillingham made five first-half treys while scoring 17 in the half for the Wildcats.

The Volunteers started strong with the game’s first eight points and held a 19-7 lead after a 3-pointer by Jordan Gainey with 14:24 left in the half.

Knecht’s three-point play made it 36-22 with 8:26 left.

–Field Level Media

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