By LARRY VAUGHT
KNOXVILLE — Want to know what beating Kentucky means? Well, let Tennessee guard Kevin Punter explain.
“It feels great to beat any team, especially Kentucky. Everyone wants to beat Kentucky. The locker room was great and we can enjoy this for the time being, but the reality is that I have to go to class in the morning. It is what it is. Reality will hit in the morning,” Punter, who had 27 points and was 10-for-11 at the foul line, said.
Reality should have hit Kentucky after it blew a 21-point lead and turned a 34-13 lead into an 84-77 loss here Tuesday night. It’s a comeback that was even hard for Punter to explain.
“I’m not sure what happened, but we came out great in the second half. We started off with the dunk and Armani ripped it out from a guy, so we started off really well defensively in the second half,” Punter said.
Detrick Mostella had 13 points and said the Vols never doubted that they could come back.
“We felt like if we weren’t going to bring energy in this type of environment, that we were never going to bring it. We knew what we had to do, to keep our foot on the gas and keep pushing,” Mostella said. “It was rough, but we knew if we kept fighting that we would come back.”
John Calipari would like to see the same consistent fighting out of his team. Once Tennessee seized momentum, Kentucky never got it back
“I’m just trying to demand that they do it the right way. I’m asking them, ‘Why would you do that? Why didn’t you do what we’re teaching? Why are you trying to break up?’” Calipari said.
“Then they do the same thing three times, then I get a little aggressive. Obviously you’re not hearing me, so I’m going to say this louder and a little bit closer your face, so you can hear what I’m saying.”