The Kentucky men’s basketball team (26-6) beat Vanderbilt in a close battle Friday night to advance to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament at 3:30 pm Saturday.
The Wildcats will face Tennessee with a chance to play for the conference championship. The two split the series this season 1-1, with Kentucky losing 76-63 to the Vols in Knoxville on Feb. 15.
Follow along for live updates below.
End: Tennessee 69, Kentucky 62
Kentucky made it interesting late in the second half, but ultimately couldn’t get it done against the Volunteers. The Wildcats made 34% of its shots from the field and Tennessee converted 44% of its shot attempts.
Oscar Tshiebwe got into foul trouble early and sat on the bench for a good amount of the second half. While he was limited, Tshiebwe didn’t disappoint and set a single-season school record with 27 double-doubles (13 points and 11 rebounds). The previous record was set by Dan Issel in 1969-70.
Keion Brooks led the way for UK with 19 points and 5 rebounds. TyTy Washington contributed 17 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.
For Tennessee, Kennedy Chandler had 19 points.
0:38 2H: Tennessee 66, Kentucky 62
1:31 2H: Tennessee 65, Kentucky 62
Here come the Cats!
3:37 2: Tennessee 58, Kentucky 49
Oscar Tshiebwe has fouled out and will end the game game with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks.
8:05 a.m.: Tennessee 51, Kentucky 43
The Cats have cut the lead to 8 points. Oscar Tshiebwe, TyTy Washington and Keion Brooks all have 12 points.
Tshiebwe also has 10 rebounds. That mark sets the single-season school record for 27 double-doubles.
11:57 a.m. ET: Tennessee 46, Kentucky 33
2:27 p.m. 2: Tennessee 43, Kentucky 33
After sitting on the bench for a decent amount of time in the first half, Oscar Tshiebwe has 10 points, 4 rebounds and a block. Keion Brooks leads all scorers with 12 points.
Kennedy Chandler has 11 points for the Vols.
Halftime: Tennessee 33, Kentucky 22
The 22 points have been the lowest Kentucky has put up in the first half this season.
Shooting has been a major issue for UK. In the first half, the Cats made 28% of their shot attempts from the floor and 67% from the free throw line.
Tennessee hasn’t been lights out either with 43% from the field and 50% from the free throw line.
Keion Brooks has a team-high 8 points for Kentucky while TyTy Washington has 6 points and 4 rebounds.
2:50 a.m.: Tennessee 29, Kentucky 20
Oscar Tshiebwe has 2 fouls and is currently on the bench. Keion Brooks leads UK with 8 points.
Kentucky has converted just 7 of its 26 shot attempts (28%).
TyTy Washington, Keion Brooks team up for highlight dunk
7:34 a.m.: Tennessee 18, Kentucky 11
The Cats have put a little dent in Tennessee’s lead and have cut the deficit to single digits. Tennessee hasn’t scored in over 4 minutes.
11:42 a.m.: Tennessee 18, Kentucky 8
The Wildcats haven’t been able to get much going early on. No player has scored more than 2 points so far.
Kentucky is shooting just 31% from the floor.
3:51 p.m. ET: Tennessee 12, Kentucky 6
Josiah-Jordan James already has 8 points for the Vols (2 3 pointers made).
Rosters are set for Kentucky vs. Tennessee
Who will play either Kentucky or Tennessee tomorrow?
Texas A&M, the eighth seed in the tournament, pulled yet another upset today when it took down No. 4 seed Arkansas, 82-64.
What time does the Kentucky-Tennessee basketball game play today?
Kentucky battles against Tennessee in the SEC Tournament semifinals at 3:30 pm, Saturday.
What channel is the Kentucky vs. Tennessee game?
The game will be broadcast on ESPN. That’s DirecTV 206, Dish 140, U-Verse 602/1602, FiOs 70/570 and Spectrum Cable 31/506 in Louisville, 28/506 in Lexington.
Eligible subscribers can stream the game online via WatchESPN.
More UK coverage:How Kentucky basketball can still earn a No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament
How TyTy Washington made SEC Tournament a win for Kentucky
Even after TyTy Washington returned from a lower leg injury, there were plenty of reasons to wonder if Kentucky basketball’s star freshman was playing at 100%.
So as Washington tried to work through a prolonged shooting slump it is only natural that some frustration might creep in. After all, I have faced not only the pressure of helping the Wildcats to a deep March Madness run but also protecting NBA draft stock that has him widely projected as a possible top-10 pick.
No wonder then that Washington bristled at some hard coaching from John Calipari during Kentucky’s 77-71 win over Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals Friday.
-Read more from Jon Hale here
How Kentucky beat Vanderbilt to advance
TAMPA, Florida – Playing in front of a heavily partisan pro-Kentucky crowd at Amalie Arena, Kentucky basketball outlasted Vanderbilt in a back-and-forth game to open its Southeastern Conference Tournament with a 77-71 quarterfinal win.
The entire game, which never saw either team lead my double digits, featured four ties and 10 lead changes. After Vanderbilt scored 13 unanswered points early in the second half, Kentucky responded with a 15-1 run of its own. Vanderbilt then scored 11 of the next 15 points to pull back within one point before a 10-2 run from Kentucky.
Freshman guard TyTy Washington led Kentucky with 25 points. Junior forward Oscar Tshiebwe tied Dan Issel’s single-season double-doubles record (26) with 12 points and 14 rebounds. They were joined in double figures by super senior guard Davion Mintz (10) and junior forward Jacob Toppin (10). Junior point guard Sahvir Wheeler totaled eight points and 11 assists.
– Read more from Jon Hale here
Related:What to know from Kentucky basketball’s SEC Tournament win over Vanderbilt
How Kentucky can still earn a No. 1 seed for the NCAA Tournament
Kentucky basketball’s loss at Arkansas two weeks ago was thought to be the end of the Wildcats’ hopes for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
But chaos reigned supreme in the college basketball world that weekend with each of the top six teams in the Associated Press Top 25 falling. Those losses meant the bracket projections essentially remained stagnant. Now, Kentucky enters conference tournament week with at least a conceivable path to the top seed line on Selection Sunday.
The Wildcats likely need help though.
Kentucky was ranked sixth in the selection committee’s early bracket reveal on Feb. 19. Of the five teams ranked ahead of UK that day, only Baylor has avoided a loss since. Gonzaga and Arizona each lost one road game, but Kentucky’s loss at Arkansas means the gap there has likely remained.
– Read more from beat writer Jon Hale here
What Skyy Clark’s decommitment means for Kentucky basketball
Kentucky basketball’s 2022 recruiting class is shrinking.
Once a four-man class projected to rival the best of the John Calipari era at UK, the group is down to two commitments following five-star guard Skyy Clark’s decommitment Sunday. Clark signed with Kentucky in November but confirmed on his personal Twitter account he would ask for a release from his National Letter of Intent.
Kentucky has generally granted those requests, as it did with point guard recruit Nolan Hickman a year ago.
The 2022 class previously lost headliner Shaedon Sharpe, at one time the No. 1-ranked prospect in the 2022 class, when he graduated high school in December to enroll at UK this semester, moving to the 2021 class. Sharpe is not playing this season, but his mentor and Calipari have insisted the plan remains for Sharpe to return to Kentucky next season even as NBA draft evaluators project him as a possible top-10 pick this summer.
– Read more from beat writer Jon Hale here
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism