It was close in the first half on Tuesday night, and then the Wildcats pulled away, taking down Tennessee 66-48. The Wildcats are now 26-0 for the first time in school history, although the 1953-54 Wildcats finished the season 25-0.
Devin Booker had 18 points and 7 rebounds for the Wildcats, who are now 13-0 in conference play. The Wildcats finished just 5-of-22 from 3-point range, and were outscored 34-22 in the paint. That did not stop the top-ranked Wildcats from getting their 26th straight win.
Tennessee and Kentucky finished tied at 34-all in the rebound category.
It was a 10-0 run with 9 minutes left that help the Wildcats pull away after leading the Volunteers by just 4. Kentucky has also matched the best start for a team coached by John Calipari, who won his first 26 games at Massachusetts in 1995-96, and went 26-0 in 2007-08 at Memphis. He led both of those teams to the Final Four, but did not win a national championship with either one.
Andrew Harrison finished with 14 points, while Trey Lyles added 10 for the perfect Wildcats. The Volunteers fell to 14-11 and 6-7 in conference play. Kevin Punter led Tennessee with 14 points and Josh Richardson had 10.
Tennessee shot 54.2 percent from the field in the first half, but dropped to just 25 percent in the second half. They finished 2-of-17 from beyond the arc and 4-of-10 from the free throw line.
The Wildcats will put their Pursuit of Perfection on the line at home against the Auburn Tigers on Saturday. The Volunteers will visit Ole Miss on Saturday.