KNOXVILLE — It may become known as the Big Blue Beatdown.
Tennessee's basketball team certainly earned a label with its performance on Saturday afternoon.
The Volunteers ran rival Kentucky out of Thompson-Boling Arena and snapped a six-game losing streak in the long-time rivalry with its biggest win ever against the Wildcats, an 88-58 thrashing that was over long before the final buzzer sounded.
Kentucky (17-8, 8-4 SEC), playing without all-star shot-blocking freshman Nerlen Noel (season-ending knee injury), scored the last eight points of the game, too, in fourth-year coach John Calipari's worst defeat at Kentucky.
Trae Golden scored 24 points and eight assists to lead Tennessee (14-10, 6-6), winners of three straight games. Jordan McRae added 15 points, and Jarnell Stokes finished nine points and nine rebounds to come just short of his seventh consecutive double-double. After a one-game absence, Kenny Hall came off the bench to score 12 points.
Tennessee shot 17-of-30 from the field, made all four of its 3-point attempts and scored 20 points off 10 Kentucky turnovers to build a 50-26 halftime lead, its largest such advantage since 1999.
The Vols' lead hardly dipped below 30 for most of the second half.
The biggest margin of victory for Tennessee in the series prior to Saturday was a 28-point win in 1968.
See Sunday's Times Free Press for more coverage from Saturday's game.
Jim Tanner has worked as assistant sports editor at the Times Free Press since late 2006. He started at the Times Free Press in 2001 and worked as a news copy/design editor from 2001 through 2006. In addition to working as a night and weekend editor producing local and national sports coverage for print and online readers, Jim occasionally writes local sports and outdoors stories. Jim grew up in Ringgold, Ga., and is a graduate ...