SEC Tournament Final: Kentucky survives Tennessee rally to win conference championship

Grant SmithMar 12, 2018

Arkansas awaits its NCAA Tournament opponent.

In an incredibly frustrating game, Mississippi State falls to the Tennessee Volunteers in the SEC Tournament.

United Kingdom beat Tennessee 77-72 Sunday in St. Louis to win a fourth straight conference tournament title and the program's 31st overall.

UK's record improved to 24-10.

United Kingdom was led by the 14 points of Gilgeous-Alexander and Knox added 10. Williams, Alexander and James Daniel each added 12 points for the Vols.

Tennessee shared the SEC's regular-season title with No. 16 Auburn, doing so after being picked to finish next to last in the league during the preseason. And he was taken off the court on a stretcher. Kevin Knox missed a free throw but Gabriel was there for the rebound and putback and a 64-62 lead. He laid it in to put United Kingdom ahead 64-62. In the first, Barford had 28 points and five rebounds and the Razorbacks defeated the Volunteers 95-93.

Gabriel missed a three-pointer from the left corner - despite audible anticipation from United Kingdom fans. United Kingdom drew back in front by as many as 9 after Green converted on 2 free throws and Knox put in a lay up courtesy of a PJ Washington steal.

Bone rebounded for Tennessee and made a free throw to complete the scoring with three seconds left. SGA would hit the free throw to give United Kingdom a 43-41 lead. However, this is a young Kentucky team that hasn't had the pressure of a conference championship game.

For the first time since 1979, Kentucky and Tennessee will meet in the finals of the SEC tournament. "But I love what took place in the second half". That was record accuracy for a half in John Calipari's nine seasons as coach. That included a pair of three-pointers. Knox made it double digits with another three pointer and a pull-up along the baseline. That was nuts. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander responds with another tough shot. That put the Cats ahead 13-5. They made only 5 of their first 25 shots and fell behind 33-16 midway through the first half, much to the delight of overwhelming Kentucky crowd inside the Scottrade Center.

Kentucky enters the game Sunday off an 86-63 drubbing of Alabama in their semifinal game.

Thereafter Schofield reminded everyone that the competition had not been completed.

Barnes was pleased with Bone's production as he noted that his progress had been consistent after missing around ten games last season. Bone's fast-break floater tied it at 38-38 with 17:25 left. Saturday marked the first time since January 31 - a span of 10 games - that Bone scored in double figures.

Schofield has been in a flow and rhythm lately as he came into the SEC Tournament averaging 24 ppg.in his final three while making 26-of-48 shots. The Vols led 48-29 in the locker room. He put in three substitutes (Green, Killeya-Jones and PJ Washington).

United Kingdom extended the lead more after a timeout.

Then it was Tennessee's turn to call timeout.

"Sacha was like a difference maker in the game again".

UT twice went to Williams.

As Kentucky wobbled (going scoreless for more than four minutes), Tennessee charged.

NCAA Tournament pairings come out later tonight and suddenly United Kingdom, which is likely to be a No. 5 seed, looks like a tough out for any team in the tournament whether it has Jarred Vanderbilt back or not. Volunteers in front 57-55.

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