Tennessee falls 69-44 to No. 1 Kentucky

Renaldo Woolridge's shots kept falling. Too bad none of his Tennessee teammates joined in.

The senior forward set a career-high with five 3-pointers and tied his career-best with 17 points, but the Volunteers fell behind early and never mounted a rally in a 69-44 loss to top-ranked Kentucky on Tuesday night.

"He did a good job of knocking those shots down, but he has also put the time in to improving his shot and shooting consistently," Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin said. "He did a good job, especially in the first half, of keeping us at bay."

It was far from enough.

Kentucky (22-1, 8-0 Southeastern Conference) got off to a sizzling start by hitting its first 11 shots over the opening 11 minutes as the Wildcats won their 14th straight overall in another dominating performance.

Freshman Anthony Davis had 18 points, eight rebounds and seven blocked shots to lead Kentucky, which has won 48 straight at home.

"They did a great job of setting the tone early," Martin said. "They did a great job of executing their offense. Anthony did a tremendous job protecting the lane and making plays defensively. I've said it before, he's the difference, probably one of the best, if not the best in the country at changing the game with his presence on the defensive side of the ball."

Tennessee (10-12, 2-5) shot a season-low 28.1 percent and struggled with foul trouble all game.

The Vols' main inside presence, Jeronne Maymon, scored 13 points, but picked up his fourth foul with just over 12 minutes to play. With Maymon gone, Davis feasted down low, blocking his seventh shot of the game when he rotated and swatted Kenny Hall's attempt.

Davis has an NCAA-best 108 blocked shots this season to help Kentucky lead the nation. He made six straight free throws before hitting a 17-footer that gave Kentucky a 57-36 lead with 6:52 left.

"He is a shot changer," Tennessee guard Josh Richardson said. "The dude is like 6-foot-10 with 7-6 arms."

Davis scored the first two baskets of the game, then stepped out and hit another long jumper as Kentucky built a 10-2 lead at the first media timeout.

With just under 14 minutes left in the first half, Terrence Jones went hard to the basket, scored and drew a foul. With both teams congregated in the paint, pushing and shoving started before officials separated the sides.

Trae Golden and Davis were assessed technical fouls, and Davis drew an offensive foul on Hall on the ensuing possession that fired the Wildcats up even more.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was fouled on the next possession and made both free throws, Marquis Teague added another and Kidd-Gilchrist's layup gave Kentucky a 22-5 lead with 11:39 left in the first half.

Vols freshman Jarnell Stokes picked up his second foul 25 seconds later to go to the bench and Tennessee's best three players — Stokes, Maymon and Golden — watched the rest of the half because of foul trouble.

Darius Miller's jumper gave Kentucky a 26-8 lead, but he missed a 3-pointer to snap the Wildcats' perfect start with 8:57 left in the first half.

"It hurts you a little bit and your confidence," Richardson said. "They play great defense and they come out and hit stuff you have never really seen before."

Woolridge answered with consecutive 3-pointers that cut Kentucky's lead to 32-22 and was 5 for 5 from 3-point range at that point, while his teammates were 3 for 19 from the field. Tennessee finished 9 of 39 from inside the arc with 11 shots blocked by the Wildcats.

Tennessee is 4-12 all-time against the nation's top-ranked team including a win against No. 1 Kentucky in 1966. The Vols had won its last two games when facing No. 1, but this group never had a chance this time after falling 65-62 at home to the Wildcats on Jan. 14.

"You can draw up all the plays in the world, but somebody has to execute the play. That's what it comes down to," Martin said. "You can talk your guys through and get them ready to go, but you have to be able to make plays and get stops."