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Bradley helps No. 25 Kentucky end two-game slide

Jan 28, 2007 - 9:55 PM LEXINGTON, Kentucky (Ticker) -- Junior Ramel Bradley and Kentucky woke up just at the right time.

Bradley scored 21 points and freshman Jodie Meeks chipped in 16 as the 25th-ranked Wildcats ended their two-game slide with a 76-57 triumph over Tennessee in a Southeastern Conference matchup.

Kentucky (16-5, 5-2 SEC East) had won 11 consecutive games - longest in four seasons - prior to back-to-back losses to Vanderbilt here and at Georgia.

The Wildcats have taken 10 of the last 11 meetings against the Volunteers and improved to 82-16 all-time in the series here.

In the second half, the Volunteers pulled to 47-46 on Josh Tabb's jumper with just over 10 minutes left. But they would get no closer as the Wildcats used a game-changing surge to create a commanding lead.

Bradley drained two 3-pointers during an impressive 20-2 burst, giving Kentucky a 67-48 advantage and never looked back from there on. The Wildcats held a 24-9 edge over the final 7:39.

"At halftime we knew that we had to step it up," Bradley said. "We came back out and brought more intensity and really stepped it up on offense. We wanted to be aggressive the last 20 minutes of the game."

Bradley rediscovered his stroke after going just 6-of-16 combined in his previous two outings. On Sunday, the junior guard made 7-of-12 shots and also recorded five rebounds and four assists.

"Ramel is kind of our energy," Wildcats coach Tubby Smith said. "He plays with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of passion. Our guys kind of feed off him. He wears his emotions on his sleeve."

Kentucky connected on five of its 11 3-pointers during the final stretch and outscored Tennessee, 45-25, after intermission.

"We had stayed on them about being a little more poised, staying on the ball and passing the ball in the second half," Smith said. "It was very comforting to see us bounce back and see us play a comforting second half because that's something we haven't seen in awhile."

JaJuan Smith poured in a career-high 25 points and Ramar Smith added 10 for Tennessee, which shot 37 percent (22-of-59) and has dropped five of six games overall.

"JaJuan did a really nice job," Vols coach Bruce Pearl said. "He didn't force it to much."

The Vols (14-7, 2-4 East) were once again without conference leading-scorer Chris Lofton, who missed his second straight game due to a sprained ankle.

"I think we have a lot of people that can step up offensively," JaJuan Smith said. "We just haven't got over the hump yet. We got different roles without Chris now."

    --- --- -----
    TENNESSEE 32 25 57
    KENTUCKY (25) 31 44 75 FINAL

    Jan 28 3:04 PM


    Jan 28 1:52 PM