for this game

Bradley's free throws lead Kentucky to upset of Tennessee

Jan 23, 2008 - 6:02 AM LEXINGTON, Kentucky (Ticker) -- During a season full of disappointment, Kentucky got one of its biggest wins of the campaign.

Freshman Patrick Patterson had 20 points and eight rebounds and Ramel Bradley's clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch led the Wildcats to a 72-66 upset of fifth-ranked Tennessee in Southeastern Conference action on Tuesday.

Kentucky (8-9, 2-2 SEC East), which was ranked in the top 25 during the first week of the season, had lost four of its last six games coming into the contest but used its defense down the stretch to end the Volunteers' 11-game winning streak.

"It was a great win for us against a great team," Kentucky first-year coach Billy Gillispie said. "These guys have figured out that it is a 40-minute game. They are going to be tough as nails to play against no matter who they are playing.

"No matter what the situation might be they are going to battle till the end every single time. That is what makes you so proud as a coach."

The Wildcats had trailed by as many as 10 points early in the second half but Joe Crawford made back-to-back 3-pointers to cap off an 8-0 spurt that tied the game at 50-50 with 11:10 to play.

The pace then started to slow down in Kentucky's favor and neither team led by more than two for nearly 10 minutes.

Tied at 60-60, Bradley made a pair of free throws to give the Wildcats the lead and, after Tyler Smith missed a 3-pointer with under 90 seconds to play, Bradley made two more foul shots to give Kentucky a 64-60 advantage with 1:14 remaining.

"It always feels good to win against our big rivalries," Bradley said. "And just to get this win against (the fifth-ranked team). I have just never heard Rupp (Arena) rock like this. These last couple games our fans have been very supportive and provided a lot of energy for us."

Chris Lofton and Jordan Howell each missed a shot from the arc with under one minute to play for Tennessee and Jodie Meeks and Patterson converted their free throws to expand Kentucky's lead to 68-60 with 27 seconds remaining.

The fifth-highest scoring offense in the nation coming into the game, Tennessee (16-2, 3-1) was held to nearly 20 points less than its scoring average of 85.6 per game. It was also the first time this season that the Volunteers failed to top 70.

"I thought tonight Kentucky was the more passionate team," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. "We didn't execute. I told the team some of that is my fault in the sense that we have gotten a little too much in as far as play calling is concerned.

"The question I would ask is, on a team that leads the SEC by far in assists, why do we have only eight assists on 22 baskets tonight. I am going to have to look at the tape and figure it out."

However, Lofton did make two 3-pointers late in the game to become the all-time leader in SEC history in 3-pointers made. The senior finished with 22 points and his 367th career 3-pointer moved him one ahead of Arkansas' Pat Bradley on the all-time list.

"It's great to have that record, but a win would have been better," Lofton said.

Ramel Bradley, who leads the SEC in free-throw shooting, made 10-of-10 in the game and finished with 16 points. Perry Stevenson added 14 for the Wildcats, who outrebounded the Volunteers, 35-24, for the game.

It was also the second straight home win against a ranked team for the Wildcats, who knocked off then-No. 12 Vanderbilt, 79-73, in double overtime on January 12.

Gillispie credited the fans for their support in the game.

"I thought that the fans were great against Vanderbilt but they had a much better effort tonight," Gillispie said. "I commend them. I was going to have to get on them if they didn't take it up to the very highest level and tonight they could not have any better job. We appreciate that and it made a major difference for our team."

Kentucky trailed for the majority of the first half, leading only once at 10-9. Tennessee took its biggest lead at 33-23 after a 9-0 run with 2:51 left in the half and was up by six at the break.

Wayne Chism chipped in 12 points for the Volunteers, who shot just 39 percent from the field (22-of-57) and made 7-of-26 shots from the arc.

"We had a lot of shots we wanted, but we also rushed a lot of our shots," Chism said. "We had good plays, we just couldn't knock them down in the end."