November 24, 2018 / 5:01 AM / 7 months ago

No. 10 Kentucky wins fifth straight, beats Tennessee St.

EditorsNote: Edit 1: Fixes throughout

No. 10 Kentucky moved its win streak to five Friday night in Lexington with a 77-62 victory over Tennessee State at Rupp Arena.

Kentucky (5-1) was led by freshman Keldon Johnson, who scored a career-high 27 points, 13 coming from the free throw line. He also had seven rebounds. Graduate transfer Reid Travis added 13 points and nine rebounds off the bench.

Leading 42-32 with 17:11 remaining, Kentucky went on a 24-14 run to grab its largest lead of the night at 20 points, 66-46, with 7:45 to play. Johnson had 13 of the Wildcats’ 24 points.

Tennessee State (2-4) placed three players in double figures. Junior guard Donte Fitzpatrick- Dorsey was tops with 18 points, followed by Emmanuel Egbuta with 13 and Kamar McKnight with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Kentucky won the rebounding battle 37-28, but had eight assists to 14 turnovers.

The Wildcats used an 8-0 spurt late in the first half to finally put some distance between themselves and the Tigers.

Johnson had four points and EJ Montgomery had three to push a 25-22 lead to 33-22. The 11-point margin was the Wildcats’ largest of the first half.

One area of concern for Kentucky has been 3-point defense. The Wildcats entered the game allowing opponents 44.1 percent from long range, which ranks 346th out of 351 Division I teams nationally.

In coach John Calipari’s previous nine UK seasons, the 3-point defense has averaged a stellar 31.1 percent. It’s never been worse than 32.6, and the best mark was 27.1 percent.

On Friday night, Kentucky held Tennessee State to 37.5 percent on 6-of-16. Kentucky did little to take advantage of that as the Wildcats made only 4 of 15 for 26.7 percent.

Kentucky held a 35-27 lead at halftime despite poor shooting. The Wildcats were 9-of-27 overall and only 1-of-10 from 3-point range. There was also just one assist to five turnovers.

—Field Level Media

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