"We came out the first half and arguably played the best basketball we've played all year", Barnes said after his team eliminated Arkansas. "We were chasing balls down, and we needed it".
Despite racing to a 17-point lead in the first half Sunday, the Wildcats' seemingly annual SEC Tournament coronation was delayed by a Tennessee team trying to win its first title in nearly 40 years. The Cats managed just nine assists but that's due in large part to the way Gilgeous-Alexander can break down a defense and score on his own. Freshman guard Darious Hall also added 11 points to go along with seven rebounds. "But I don't know what tomorrow brings".
Admiral Schofield had 22 points and 10 rebounds for Tennessee (25-8), which was attempting to win its first tournament championship since 1979. The final lead came on a mid-range jumper from Jordan Bowden that gave the Vols a one-point edge with 4:53 to go.
Schofield would leave the game late in the second half however.
"We had 22 offensive rebounds, and that was the difference", Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. We just weren't locked in.
Tennessee finished the regular season 23-7 (13-5 in the SEC), good enough for a share of the SEC regular season title.
Tennessee has won its last two SEC Tournament game, both of which have taken place during this year's tournament. The school has reached the championship game 10 times, tied for the third-most appearances in the conference, and it lost to Mississippi State in its most recent title game in 2009.
Megan Calipari locked it up, threw away the key and is already driving that thing to wherever region Kentucky gets seeded into tonight.
This will be the second game of the season between these two teams.
After Tennessee took and missed a quick and questionable three-point shot, it was Sacha Killeya-Jones' turn to be in the right spot at the right time.
Since then, Kentucky has won six of seven, including all three of its SEC Tournament games.
Five players are averaging at least 10.3 points per game for Kentucky, they are Kevin Knox (15.7), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (13.2), Hamidou Diallo (10.4) and Quade green (10.3). Follow our Twitter page for updates on who and where the Tennessee Volunteers will be playing in the NCAA Tournament. Tennessee (25-8) swept the Wildcats during the regular-season but couldn't overcome an early 17-point deficit in the tournament finale.
Arkansas now awaits its selection into the NCAA Tournament, as the Razorbacks will find out its seeding on Selection Sunday. The Raiders held 24 opponents to 67 points or fewer.
Peters made a 3-pointer and converted a three-point play to get MSU within 61-59 with 41 seconds left.