Video: Vols Celebrate Huge Upset Over No. 6 Kentucky

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    (Photo via Tennessee Athletics)

    Tennessee did the improbable on Tuesday night: They went up to Lexington, Kentucky and handed the Wildcats a loss. Not only that, but they erased a 17-point second half deficit to do so, and they beat a Kentucky team ranked in the top 10 of the AP Poll.

    The Vols (17-13, 9-8 SEC) rallied behind the second half efforts of Josiah-Jordan James, John Fulkerson, and Yves Pons to stun No. 6 Kentucky (24-6, 14-3) by a score of 81-73. The Wildcats led by 17 points with just under 17 minutes to go in the second half, and they still had a 10-point lead with just under 12 and a half minutes left in the game.

    Then, Tennessee’s defense settled in, and the offense was sparked by James’ solid play at point guard.

    Tennessee outscored Kentucky 35-17 over the final 12:20 of the game, and the Wildcats were just 5-of-17 from the field to close out the game. The Vols, meanwhile, went 14-of-23 from the floor to finish the game.

    The win marked only Tennessee’s sixth win in Rupp Arena ever, and it’s only the Vols’ 18th win ever in Lexington over the Wildcats. With the victory, head coach Rick Barnes also became the first Tennessee men’s basketball coach to ever win twice in Rupp Arena.

    John Fulkerson and Josiah-Jordan James both scored career-highs, with Fulkerson totaling 27 points and James adding 16. All 16 of James’ points came in the second half, and Yves Pons scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half as well, connecting on both of his threes.

    As you can imagine, Tennessee’s players were pumped about the huge upset after the game.

    The official Tennessee basketball Twitter account tweeted out a video after the win of UT’s players dancing and chanting “It’s great to be a Tennessee Vol” in the visiting team’s locker room in Rupp Arena after the eight-point victory over the No. 6 Wildcats.

    That wasn’t all for the celebrations, though.

    Redshirt junior John Fulkerson had a surprise waiting for him when he got to the locker room, as his teammates doused him with water and bombarded him with water bottles and exclamations.

    For a team that had been searching for big wins all season, the Vols have reeled off two-straight impressive victories in the last few days. Tennessee beat Florida 63-58 in Knoxville on Saturday afternoon and upset No. 6 Kentucky on Tuesday, 81-73.

    The Vols have another chance at an upset this upcoming Saturday when they host No. 17 Auburn for a noon tip-off in Thompson-Boling Arena. But until then, Tennessee’s players and Vol fans should enjoy UT’s thrilling victory over the Wildcats.



    Nathanael Rutherford
    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.