LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- With its stars misfiring from all over the court, No. 12 Kentucky turned to an unlikely offensive source against Tennessee.
Jules Camara was 8-of-13 from the field for a career-high 17
points and grabbed eight rebounds as the Wildcats rallied for a
64-61 victory Tuesday night.
"I always know I can hit the shots," said Camara, a rail-thin, 6-foot-11 junior who came into the game averaging 5.0 points and 3.0 rebounds. "It's just a matter of being aggressive, going out there and getting it done."
With Prince and Keith Bogans combining to shoot only 3-of-18, and starting guard Gerald Fitch suspended for the game following a
scuffle with a teammate, Kentucky desperately needed someone to
step up and put the ball in the basket.
Camara and Hayes, a freshman who was making his second career start, provided the scoring punch. They combined to shoot 12-of-18, grab 14 rebounds, hand out four assists and block three shots.
"It's no secret that teams focus on Tayshaun," said Hayes, who finished with six rebounds and two assists. "When that happens, others have to produce. Tonight, that turned out to be Jules and I."
Vincent Yarbrough was 7-of-12 from 3-point range and finished with 27 points to lead Tennessee (13-13, 6-7), which has lost three of four.
"We had our chances," Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson said. "I look at the stats and see only one lead change. Our kids scrapped and fought hard out there."
Tennessee shot 41 percent to Kentucky's 38 percent but turned the ball over 18 times. The Wildcats were 19-of-27 from the free throw line while the Vols were 9-of-11.
"It was a real war out there," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "Our kids showed a lot of heart, a lot of courage and a lot of toughness."
Kentucky trailed by 10 points early in the second half and by
seven with only six minutes remaining. But the Wildcats battled
back to take their first lead of the game at 60-59 on a free throw
by Hawkins with 1:26 to play.
His driving layup with 36 seconds remaining proved to be the
game-winner as Higgins' long 3-pointer bounded off the rim with
less than 10 seconds to play.
"It hurts to lose like this when we came out and played so well," said Haislip, who finished with seven rebounds and two blocked shots. "They just kept coming back and pinching away at our lead."
Kentucky missed its first seven shots and 12 of its first 15 as Tennessee took a 12-7 lead at the 11-minute mark.
Leading 14-11, Yarbrough made consecutive 3-pointers to spark an
11-0 run and put the Vols up 25-11 with 6:10 to play.
The lead grew to 33-17 on Haislip's rim-rattling, two-handed
dunk at the three-minute mark. A 9-0 Kentucky run over the final
2:40 cut the margin to 33-26 at halftime.
For the half, Kentucky shot just 30 percent, including 2-of-10
from 3-point range, and was outrebounded 24-12.
"That big run they made at the end of the half was significant," Peterson said. "Instead of going into the half up 15 or 16, we went in up seven and lost some of that cushion. That was the difference."
Camara, who had 13 points and six rebounds in the second half, scored six points over a three-minute span to key a 13-5 run that pulled the Wildcats within 41-39 with 14 minutes left.
Yarbrough's sixth 3-pointer put Tennessee on top 51-44 with nine minutes remaining.
His seventh -- a runner off the glass from the right side with
only one second remaining on the shot clock -- gave the Vols a 55-48
lead with 6:06 to play.
Consecutive baskets by Hayes down low cut the margin to 57-56
with 3:16 to play.
Camara's free throw tied the game at 57 with 2:23 to play. Hawkins added another to give the Wildcats their first lead and set up the dramatic finish.
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