Freshman guard Johnny Juzang gave No. 15 Kentucky a big lift off the bench as the Wildcats snapped a four-game losing streak to Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., with a 77-64 win Saturday afternoon.
With the victory and LSU’s overtime loss at Auburn, Kentucky (18-5, 8-2 SEC) moved into a tie with both of those schools for first place in the Southeastern Conference.
Juzang reached double figures for the first time with 13 points in hitting all four of his field-goal attempts, including three 3-pointers. His previous season high was six points.
Immanuel Quickley scored 15 of his team-high 18 points in the second half to lead Kentucky. Tyrese Maxey and Nick Richards scored 15 each as the Wildcats enjoyed a huge 38-18 advantage in points in the paint.
Playing just his 11th game, mid-year enrollee Santiago Vescovi matched his season high with 18 points to lead Tennessee (13-10, 5-5). John Fulkerson and Jordan Bowden added 16 each for the Vols.
The Volunteers made it interesting by cutting a 10-point second-half deficit down to 53-49 with about eight minutes left, but the Wildcats pulled back in front by double digits at 61-51 at the 6:10 mark.
The final 13-point margin was their largest lead as the Wildcats finished the game on an 11-3 surge over the last three minutes.
Kentucky shot 54.3 percent from the field, compared to 34.5 percent for Tennessee. It was the Wildcats’ first win in Knoxville since Feb. 17, 2015.
Kentucky had a pair of 11-point leads in the first half, the first at 26-15 on the strength of an 8-0 run and the last at 34-23 with 1:43 remaining in the period, but went into the break up only 37-30 despite going 14 of 25 from the field to Tennessee’s 8-of-25 effort.
Turnovers hampered the Wildcats, who made six in the first seven minutes and finished the half with 10 to Tennessee’s five.
Tennessee was without starting guard Josiah-Jordan James (hip injury) for a third consecutive game.
—Field Level Media