Quick start powers No. 1 Kentucky
Wildcats hit first 11 shots of game in rout of Tennessee
The Associated Press
Last Updated - January 31, 2012 10:15 GMT
Anthony Davis had 18 points, eight rebounds and seven blocked shots as No. 1 Kentucky beat Tennessee 69-44 on Tuesday.
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Anthony Davis had 18 points, eight rebounds and seven blocked shots as top-ranked Kentucky beat Tennessee 69-44 on Tuesday night to extend the Wildcatsí home winning streak to 48 games.
Kentucky (22-1, 8-0 Southeastern Conference) got off to a sizzling start by hitting its first 11 shots over the opening 11 minutes as the Wildcats won their 14th consecutive overall in another dominating performance.
The 6-foot-10 Davis has been the biggest star among the Wildcatsí starting group of three freshmen and two sophomores who expect to play for a national title in a little over two months.
The Volunteers (10-12, 2-5) were led by Renaldo Woolridge, who hit a career-best five 3-pointers and tied his career-high with 17 points.
Kentucky holds the nationís longest home winning streak and wore platinum gray uniforms instead of their standard white as part of a Nike promotion with eight other programs in menís and womenís basketball.
The uniforms made it tough at times to pick up who was scoring for the Wildcats. No matter, everyone has pitched in equally this season for a club that features six players averaging 9.9 points or more.
Freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 16 points and eight rebounds, Terrence Jones scored 11 points and Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague had nine apiece for the Wildcats.
The Volsí main inside presence, Jeronne Maymon, scored 13 points, but picked up his fourth foul with just over 12 minutes to play. With Maymon gone, Davis feasted down low, blocking his seventh shot of the game when he rotated and swatted Kenny Hallís attempt.
Davis has an NCAA-best 108 blocked shots this season to help Kentucky lead the nation. He made six consecutive free throws before hitting a 17-footer that gave Kentucky a 57-36 lead with 6:52 left.
He scored the first two baskets of the game, then stepped out and hit another long jumper as Kentucky built a 10-2 lead at the first media timeout.
With just under 14 minutes left, Jones went hard to the basket, scored and drew a foul. With both teams congregated in the paint, pushing and shoving started before officials separated the sides.
Trae Golden and Davis were assessed technical fouls, and Davis drew an offensive foul on Hall on the ensuing possession that fired the Wildcats up even more.
Kidd-Gilchrist was fouled on the next possession and made both free throws, Teague added another and Kidd-Gilchristís layup gave Kentucky a 22-5 lead with 11:39 left in the first half.
No. 1 Kentucky 69, Tennessee 44 Illinois 42, No. 9 Michigan State 41 No. 15 Marquette 66, Seton Hall 59 No. 16 Virginia 65, Clemson 61 No. 19 Wisconsin 52, Penn State 46
Vols freshman Jarnell Stokes picked up his second foul 25 seconds later to go to the bench and Tennesseeís best three players -- Stokes, Maymon and Golden -- watched the rest of the half because of foul trouble.
Darius Millerís jumper gave Kentucky a 26-8 lead, but he missed a 3-pointer to snap the Wildcatsí perfect start with 8:57 left in the first half.
Woolridge hit consecutive 3-pointers that cut Kentuckyís lead to 32-22 and was 5 for 5 from 3-point range at that point, while his teammates were 3 for 19 from the field.
The Vols never cut the lead to single digits as Kentucky answered with six points in a row and led 38-25 at halftime.
Tennessee is 4-12 all-time against the nationís top-ranked team including a win against No. 1 Kentucky in 1966. The Vols had won its last two games when facing No. 1, but this group under first-year coach Cuonzo Martin never had a chance after shooting 28.1 percent at aging Rupp Arena.
Earlier Tuesday, a planning committee recommended renovations to the arena and surrounding area beginning in 2015 at a cost of between $250 million to $300 million.
The two-year project would keep Ruppís official capacity around 23,000, but would add luxury boxes, party suites, chair backs, a modern eight-sided scoreboard and LED ribbon boards around the facility.