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Tennessee comes up clutch down stretch to beat Kentucky

Jerry Tipton, Lexington Herald-Leader on

Published in Basketball

Much of the pregame talk centered on the first game. Tennessee won with muscle, which inspired a memorable assessment by Calipari. UK was "manhandled by men," he said.

This time, Kentucky seemed ready to match muscles.

"They're coming in here with an idea that they're going to bash us," Calipari said of the Vols. "And my thing is ... we're going to have to be the aggressor."

The game was less a slugfest than a test of nerve and will.

Kentucky competed, but Gilgeous-Alexander's two turnovers in the final minute proved too much to overcome.

Kentucky fell to 17-7 overall and 6-5 in the Southeastern Conference.

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Tennessee, which swept UK for the first time since 1998-99, improved to 18-5 overall and 8-3 in the SEC.

Little in the first half gave UK fans reason to boisterous enthusiasm. The Cats made only three of their first 15 shots, in part because of a failure to establish low-post superiority over the smaller Vols.

But Tennessee also struggled offensively. The Vols made only 10 of 26 shots in the fist half.

Green, who had made only 10 of 37 shots (five of 19 from 3-point range) since returning from a strained back, led Kentucky. His 10 first-half points included a turnaround from the right wing in the final second to bring UK within 27-26 at halftime.

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