No. 9 Kentucky 92, Tennessee 60

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP)—Kentucky’s 3-point shooting meant another long night on the road for Tennessee.

Kelenna Azubuike scored 17 points and the ninth-ranked Wildcats went 11-of-19 from 3-point range in a 92-60 victory on Wednesday night.

Kentucky (20-4, 10-3 Southeastern Conference) clinched its 14th consecutive 20-win season and completed a regular-season sweep of the Volunteers (13-11, 5-8), who have lost nine of their last 12 games.

Antwain Barbour scored 16 points and Cliff Hawkins added 15 points and seven assists for Kentucky, which is one game behind No. 7 Mississippi State in the overall SEC standings.

Kentucky’s win, combined with South Carolina’s loss at Florida on Wednesday, clinched at least a share of the SEC East division title for the Wildcats, who have won three straight games since a loss to Georgia.

“We’ve been getting better,” Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. “I’ve seen it in practice. They’re really starting to come together. We hadn’t been bad all year, but we’re getting better.”

For only the second time this season, all five Kentucky starters scored in double figures. The Wildcats posted their largest winning margin of the season and their highest point total since a 101-72 win over Eastern Kentucky on Dec. 23.

Kentucky also matched its highest 3-point output of the season. The Wildcats made 11 3-pointers against Eastern Kentucky. Kentucky entered the game 10th in the SEC in made 3-pointers per game at 5.4. Azubuike and Barbour each went 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.

“That’s got to be the best we’ve shot all year,” Smith said.

Smith wasn’t too far off, as Kentucky shot 58.9 percent from the field, its third-best outing of the season.

“We had great balance,” Smith said. “We’re pretty good because we’re solid in most other areas. When we make shots early on, it puts a lot of pressure on the other team.”

Tennessee fell to 1-8 in road games this season. All eight of those losses have been by double figures.

Scooter McFadgon, who scored 33 points in the Volunteers’ first game this season against Kentucky, led Tennessee with 18 points and Stanley Asumnu added 13.

“It bothers me that we went back to where we were early in the conference season,” Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson said.

“I told our guys (during the game) that I wanted five guys who were going to compete. Our offense gave (Kentucky) way too many opportunities to score.”

Tennessee scored the first five points before Kentucky seized control with a 17-2 run, during which Barbour scored nine points. The Wildcats led by as many as 18 points before settling for a 44-29 halftime lead.

Tennessee came no closer than 13 points in the second half. Kentucky outrebounded the taller Volunteers 40-27.

Chuck Hayes scored 14 points and center Erik Daniels added 12 points and six assists for Kentucky, which recorded assists on 19 of its 33 field goals.

Kentucky went 7-of-11 from 3-point range in the first half and was 11-for-16 before missing its last three attempts. The Wildcats entered the game shooting 32.8 percent from 3-point range this season.

“Our team was running the floor, and our transition game was really working,” Hawkins said.

Gerald Fitch, Kentucky’s leading scorer, didn’t start for the sixth straight game, three of which he missed because of injury. Fitch played only 35 seconds Wednesday, as he was suffering from food poisoning. He picked up two quick fouls after entering the game in the first half and didn’t return.

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