UK misses chance to win 5th straight SEC Tournament

Associated Press | Mark Humphrey

Kentucky guard Keldon Johnson reacts after a foul was called against Kentucky in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Tennessee at the Southeastern Conference tournament Saturday, March 16, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. Tennessee won 82-78.

A streak of SEC Tournament championships game to an end for the University of Kentucky on Saturday.

The Wildcats had won four straight SEC tourney titles but won't get the chance to stretch that to five after losing to Tennessee 82-78.

This will be the first time since 2013 that UK has not played in the SEC tourney championship game.

Tennessee ended UK's 13-game tourney winning streak and a run of four straight championships.


UK is 42-3 in semifinal games and has been in the semifinals six years in a row.

Kentucky is 12-5 against Tennessee in the SEC Tournament, including 5-2 in semifinal games.

This is the second year in a row that the teams met in the SEC Tournament, with UK defeating Tennessee in the 2018 championship game.


Kentucky shot 53.6 percent from the field. UK suffered its first lost when making half its shots and is now is 14-1 this season when shooting 50 percent or better.

UK won the rebounding, 32-29. UK fell to 21-4 this season when outrebounding the opponent.

Kentucky dominated points in the paint, 44-22. The Wildcats are now 23-4 when winning the points in the paint.

Five Wildcats scored in double figures, the first time that has been accomplished since Jan. 5 at Alabama. Ironically, that was also a loss.

UK fell to 5-4 vs. Associated Press Top 25 teams this season and 4-3 vs. the top 10.


The matchup with Tennessee, the third this season, was magnificently contested, with nine ties and 15 lead changes. No team led by more than eight points.

"Six games in two years. They're all wars," UK coach John Calipari said of the recent matchups with Tennessee. "I don't know why I recommended that Rick (Barnes) take this job. If I'd have known he was doing this to us, I would have said, Stay at Texas, don't even come up here."


There was a little bit of discussion in the Tennessee postgame about UK maybe not respecting the Volunteers.

Tennessee star and leading scorer Admiral Schofield was asked about UK's respect level. Schofield finished with 21 points against UK.

"I think it was taken out of context," Schofield said. "I meant that in the aspect of their program is prestigious as far as just winning, having a great tradition in basketball. We don't have that. That's what we're building toward.

"Why would they respect us? Those guys probably expected to come out and just beat us. Just like we expected to win, they expected to win."

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