Another road trip, another heartbreaker for Kentucky.
The Wildcats (16-6) watched a 21-point lead over Tennessee vanish with more than 14 minutes remaining, and the mediocre Volunteers (11-11) gutted out a 84-77 win in Knoxville.
Tuesday marked the second time in four nights that John Calipari’s team lost a second-half lead; the ‘Cats fell to Kansas in overtime on Saturday after giving up a 2-point advantage in the final minute.
Facing Rick Barnes’ Vols, Kentucky trailed by five points with 29.8 seconds remaining.
The Wildcats missed three shots on the ensuing position — including a pair of 3-point attempts from sophomore Jamal Murray — to seal their fate at Thompson-Boling Arena.
MVP: Murray. The freshman guard was inefficient from the field (21 points on 7-for-19 shooting), but he provided an offensive spark while point guard Tyler Ulis struggled through an off night.
Starting lineup: Tyler Ulis, Jamal Murray, Isaiah Briscoe, Alex Poythress and Derek Willis
Off the bench: Skal Labissiere, Dominique Hawkins, Marcus Lee and Charles Matthews
Cleaning up the glass: Kentucky opened the game with a 34-13 lead, but Tennessee cut it to 42-36 by halftime … The Vols eventually took a 56-54 lead with 14:01 remaining in the game — their first advantage of the night … Poythress (14 points and 5 rebounds) fouled out with 3:27 remaining … Ulis (20 points and 5 assists) fouled out with 0:06 remaining.
Previous game: Kentucky loses last-minute lead, falls apart in OT at Kansas
What’s next: Sat., Feb. 6, vs. Florida (4 p.m. ET, CBS)