Knox, Diallo lead No. 8 Kentucky past Virginia Tech 93-86

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) – Kevin Knox scored 21 points, Hamidou Diallo added 20, including a big 3-pointer with 50 seconds remaining, and No. 8 Kentucky outlasted Virginia Tech 93-86 on Saturday for its most significant victory this season.

The Wildcats won their seventh straight and hit a season-high 11 3-pointers, with six players making at least one. Kentucky (9-1) finished 11 of 22 from behind the arc. Quade Green added 17 points with a pair of 3s while wearing shaded protective glasses after injuring his eye last week against Monmouth.

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A back-and-forth game featuring 11 lead changes, eight ties and plenty of perimeter fireworks eventually swung Kentucky’s way down the stretch thanks to Knox and Diallo, whose 3-pointer with 4:54 left made it 78-71. Diallo’s free throw with 13 seconds left provided an eight-point edge and Knox’s two free throws five seconds later sealed the outcome.

Ahmed Hill had 20 points, Justin Robinson 19 and Kerry Blackshear 18 for Virginia Tech (8-2), which entered the game leading the nation in scoring (96.2 points). The Hokies shot 58 percent and 10 of 22 from long range but couldn’t keep up with Kentucky down the stretch.

Virginia Tech: The high-scoring Hokies maintained their fast pace throughout and didn’t flinch when trailing. Hill’s 3-pointer with 11 seconds remaining kept them within reach, but they couldn’t stop the Wildcats down the stretch.

Kentucky: After missing first five shots, the Wildcats responded with a 9-0 run to lead, and did it again later for another edge. Though they seemed at times to be playing Virginia Tech’s pace, the ‘Cats set the tone when needed to regain the lead. Knox’s 11 points coming out of the break was critical in rallying Kentucky from a 47-41 halftime deficit. The Wildcats shot 48.5 percent and outrebounded the Hokies 33-30.

Up next for both teams, Virginia Tech hosts Presbyterian on Tuesday night.

Kentucky plays its third neutral-site, marquee game on Dec. 23 against UCLA in New Orleans. The schools split last season, with the Wildcats beating the Bruins in the NCAA Tournament.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.