LEXINGTON, KY— Tennessee stunned the 8th ranked Kentucky Wildcats this evening by a score of 81-73 in a match-up that was dominated by John Fulkerson and will likely resurrect the Vols’ chances at making the NCAA Tournament.
John Fulkerson scored a career-high 27-points, bringing his team back from the dead after being down 11-points at halftime. Josiah-Jordan James also contributed heavily to the Volunteers’ monumental victory in RUPP Arena with 16 points, along with Yves Pons with 15 points, and Jordan Bowden with 11 points. Jalen Johnson also racked up 8 points, in addition to Santiago Vescovi who contributed 4 of the Vols’ 81 points.
The victory was a team effort, as Tennessee shot 53% from the field, 44% from beyond the 3-point arch, and 81% from the free-throw line, where Tennessee was able to clinch their victory with crucial shots from Josiah-Jordan James, Santiago Vescovi, and John Fulkerson.
In the 1st half, it appeared that Kentucky would likely run away with a victory over their rivals to the south, however, Fulkerson was able to keep the Volunteers in the match-up as the Wildcats never pulled away with a large enough lead to put Tennessee away — it was truly a massive turn of events as Kentucky fans poured out of RUPP Arena as a grim reality began to set into Big Blue Nation.
The Volunteers’ next match-up will be against the Auburn Tigers on Saturday, where — if they win — they’ll improve their odds of making the field of 68 even more. The Vols will face off against the Tigers to conclude the regular season at noon in Thompson-Boling Arena, where ESPN’s FPI gives the Vols a 49.6% chance at claiming a victory.
The end of this season is going to be very intriguing, as the Vols look to stun the College Basketball world and make the NCAA Tournament for the third time under Rick Barnes’ guidance as head coach. They took the first step today, on Saturday they’ll have the chance to make the second step, and they’ll have the opportunity to seal the deal in Nashville.