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No. 5 Kentucky got the strong start it sought against No. 1 Tennessee and for a moment was blowing out the Volunteers.

Most important was that the Wildcats finished off the Vols on a national stage, just what they needed days after letting one slip away.

PJ Washington scored 23 points, Keldon Johnson added 19 and Kentucky upset Tennessee 86-69 Saturday night to end the Volunteers' school-record, 19-game winning streak.

The Wildcats used a 25-7 surge over a little more than seven minutes for a 62-38 lead, providing a cushion that withstood the Volunteers' 13-0 spurt soon after that cut the advantage in half. Kentucky maintained a double-digit lead to win the highly anticipated matchup of top-five schools.

Kentucky (21-4, 10-2) also avoided a second consecutive SEC loss to stay within reach of co-leader Tennessee (23-2, 11-1), which hadn't lost since Nov. 23 to No. 2 Kansas.

"It shows everybody that we can still play with great teams in this league and also in the country," said Washington, who scored Kentucky's first seven points and finished 9 of 12 from the field for his seventh 20-point effort in the past eight games.

Johnson, meanwhile, made 8 of 14 with three 3-pointers as the Wildcats shot 55 percent. Tyler Herro had 15 points and 13 rebounds as Kentucky beat Tennessee 39-26 on the glass.

It was a big improvement from Tuesday night's 73-71 home loss to No. 19 LSU, a game decided on a last-second tip-in the Wildcats thought was basket interference. However, Kentucky played a big role with breakdowns and questionable shots that let the Tigers rally and eventually win the game.

The Wildcats rebounded with an effort that was thorough in many phases.

They outscored the Vols 36-20 in the paint and edged them 17-14 in second-chance points. And instead of letting Tennessee expand its one encouraging run, Kentucky did what it had to do to keep a double-digit advantage.

"I hit them right after the game with LSU and said, 'Hey, that was a tough loss,'" Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "But you know, we needed it. We need to go back to what we were, and sometimes you've got to get knocked in the head to know that.

"So the loss to LSU probably helped us win this game."

Other than managing to enter the break trailing 37-31 and that second-half run, Tennessee wasn't a factor.

Jordan Bone had 19 points and Admiral Schofield 17 for the Volunteers, who scored the game's first basket but trailed afterward. Tennessee shot 35 percent in the second half and 41 percent overall.

"Tonight, we weren't Tennessee tough," Schofield said. "Kentucky was totally kicking our butt, scoring the ball, defense, everything."


Tennessee will likely fall from atop the AP Top 25 with the loss. Kentucky should move up a couple of spots with its biggest win this season.


Tennessee: The Volunteers never got a chance to take the three-game lead they sought against Kentucky and must wait for the March 2 rematch in Knoxville to get revenge. That will require improved shooting and rebounding after a game in which they struggled at both.

"We had some shots early and didn't make them, and that's part of it," coach Rick Barnes said. "But they're not giving much room to work with."

Kentucky: The Wildcats needed this win on many ways after letting LSU off the hook. They still have ground to make up on the Volunteers but succeeded not only in getting ahead of Tennessee, but closing out the Vols. Reid Travis had 11 points and Ashton Hagans had seven assists.


Tennessee hosts Vanderbilt on Tuesday night, seeking a season sweep after escaping the Commodores 88-83 in overtime on Jan. 23.

Kentucky visits Missouri on Tuesday night, looking to improve to 12-1 against the Tigers.

Ja Morant had 25 points and 14 assists as Murray State easily beat Eastern Kentucky 102-70 on Saturday night.

Morant also committed nine turnovers.

Shaq Buchanan had 16 points for Murray State (21-4, 12-2 Ohio Valley Conference), which earned its fifth consecutive win. Darnell Cowart added 14 points. Tevin Brown had 14 points for the visitors.

Murray State is undefeated (4-0) when scoring at least 100 points this season.

Nick Mayo had 26 points and 12 rebounds for the Colonels (11-16, 4-10). Jomaru Brown added 19 points. He also had seven turnovers but no assists. Tre King had 10 points and nine rebounds.

The Racers improve to 2-0 against the Colonels on the season. Murray State defeated Eastern Kentucky 97-85 on Jan. 5. Murray State plays UT Martin at home on Thursday. Eastern Kentucky takes on Tennessee Tech on the road on Thursday.

Kavion Pippen and Sean Lloyd Jr. scored 21 points apiece as Southern Illinois easily beat Indiana State 79-57 on Saturday. Armon Fletcher added 20 points for the Salukis.

Pippen hit 10 of 12 shots. He added four assists and four blocks. Lloyd Jr. also had seven rebounds for the Salukis, while Fletcher posted nine rebounds.

Aaron Cook had seven assists for Southern Illinois (14-13, 7-7 Missouri Valley Conference).

Cooper Neese had 14 points for the Sycamores (13-13, 5-9). Emondre Rickman added 12 points. Jordan Barnes had 11 points.

Tyreke Key, the Sycamores' leading scorer heading into the matchup at 17 points per game, was held to only eight points on 3-of-13 shooting.

The Salukis improve to 2-0 against the Sycamores on the season. Southern Illinois defeated Indiana State 88-73 on Jan. 30. Southern Illinois plays Valparaiso on the road on Wednesday. Indiana State matches up against Illinois State at home on Wednesday.

Zack Bryant had 24 points as UAB got past Wesetern Kentucky 68-60 on Saturday.

Tavin Lovan had 13 points and 12 rebounds for UAB (16-11, 8-6 Conference USA). Lewis Sullivan added 10 points and seven rebounds.

Western Kentucky totaled 23 points in the first half, a season low.

Charles Bassey had 23 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks for the Hilltoppers (16-11, 9-5), whose five-game win streak was snapped. Josh Anderson added 15 points. Jared Savage had seven rebounds.

The Blazers and the Hilltoppers next play in Conference USA's inaugural Bonus Play format.


For more AP college basketball coverage: and

Five days after watching a 23-point second-half lead disappear, No. 16 Louisville found itself on the brink of another calamity on Saturday.

The Cardinals beat Clemson 56-55, but they led by seven with 17 seconds remaining, and the Tigers had two chances in the final seconds to walk off the court with a win.

Louisville snapped a two-game losing skid, but the final seconds stirred echoes of those games, including No. 2 Duke's memorable comeback on Tuesday, in which the Cardinals (18-8, 9-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) saw double-digit second-half leads evaporate. It was also reminiscent of Virginia's miracle last March, when the Cavaliers scored five points in the final 0.9 seconds to beat the Cardinals.

"Down the stretch again, we have to figure out ways to close games better," first-year Louisville coach Chris Mack said. "I told our team mental errors and physical errors cannot be tolerated in winning time."

Steven Enoch's free throw gave Louisville a 56-49 lead. Marcquise Reed hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to four, and then the Tigers forced a held ball and a subsequent turnover that led to another 3 by Reed, making it a one-point game with 3.5 seconds left.

After a Louisville timeout, Jordan Nwora tried to inbound the ball to Dwayne Sutton, who fell. The ball went right to Reed in the lane, but Nwora blocked his driving floater. John Newman III got the offensive rebound, but his fadeaway jumper missed just before time expired.

Louisville led 48-41 with 3:40 to go after a 3-pointer by Christen Cunningham, but Elijah Thomas scored the next six points for Clemson to cut the lead to one. Thomas, a senior forward, had a chance to give the Tigers the lead, but he missed two free throws with 1:17 left.

"You think about the ones you didn't make, but Marcquise jumped up and made some to give us the one-possession game," Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. "It's unfortunate, because our kids competed so hard today and they probably deserved a little better."

Nwora got fouled on a dunk on Louisville's ensuing possession, and after the sophomore's three-point play it seemed like the Cardinals would escape, albeit not nearly in such dramatic fashion.

Cunningham, a graduate transfer, scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half to rally the Cardinals, who trailed by seven early in the second half.

"Obviously, we could've finished better, we could've closed better, but it's a lot better feeling today than it was Tuesday," he said.

Louisville was held to a season-low 19 first-half points thanks to shooting a season-worst 29.6 percent in the half. While Clemson wasn't much better at 37 percent, the Tigers took a four-point lead at the break thanks to a 3-pointer just before the buzzer by Clyde Trapp.

Thomas led the Tigers (15-10, 5-7) with 15 points. Reed had 13 points and 12 rebounds.


With the loss to Duke earlier in the week, the Cardinals are still likely to drop when the next Top 25 comes out on Monday. However, Saturday's win should keep them from falling near the bottom of the poll.


Clemson: The Tigers dictated play with their physicality inside and defense. Clemson held the Cardinals to season low in points, shooting percentage (35.2) and offensive rebounds (three). They could not keep it up for the entire game, as Louisville used an 11-2 run to take the lead for good with 5:59 remaining, but they still had a chance for an upset in the closing seconds.

Louisville: After losing three of their previous four, the Cardinals looked anything but great. The Cardinals' play in the closing seconds is something Mack needs to address immediately.


Louisville travels to Syracuse Wednesday night.

Clemson hosts No. 17 Florida State on Tuesday night.