Keldon Johnson leads No. 10 Kentucky past Tenn. St., 77-62

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) – Keldon Johnson scored a career-high 27 points to lead No. 10 Kentucky to a 77-62 win over Tennessee State on Friday night.

The Wildcats (5-1) finished 4-0 in the Ohio Valley Hardwood Showcase and won their fifth straight since a season-opening blowout loss to Duke. Kentucky concluded a span of three games in six days by notching its 48th consecutive victory over a nonconference opponent at home.

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Johnson scored 20 points in the second half as the Wildcats pulled away. Johnson made 13 of 18 free throws and finished with seven rebounds. Reid Travis added 13 points and nine rebounds.

Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey led the Tigers (2-4) with 18 points, followed by Emmanuel Egbuta with 13 and Kamar McKnight with 10.

Kentucky sophomore PJ Washington, who scored 62 points combined in the previous three games, finished with just six points.

Kentucky missed its first eight 3-point attempts before Immanuel Quickley and Tyler Herro connected on back-to-back 3s to give the Wildcats a 15-14 lead. That sparked an 11-0 run.

Kentucky continued to struggle from the field in the first half and made just 9 of 27 shots. The Wildcats made 16 free throws on 20 attempts to build a 35-27 lead at the break. Only one Kentucky player – Herro – made more than one field-goal attempt.

Overall, Kentucky made 27 of 41 free throws.

Kentucky: The Wildcats had surrendered 29 3-pointers in their two previous games but limited the Tigers to just six from long range. The Wildcats, who have out-rebounded their opponents by an average of 18.8 per game, dominated the glass, 37-28.

Tennessee State: The Tigers fell to 0-5 all-time against the Wildcats and haven’t beaten a Power Five school since a 64-63 win over South Carolina in 2011. The Tigers play at Memphis on Dec. 22 and at Vanderbilt on Dec. 29 before opening Ohio Valley Conference play against Tennessee Tech on Jan. 3 in Nashville.

Kentucky: The Wildcats could benefit from Auburn’s loss to Duke in the Maui Invitational earlier this week. Kentucky is one of four Southeastern Conference schools ranked in the AP Top 25. Three of those teams – Tennessee, Kentucky and Auburn – are in the Top 10. Kentucky should remain in the Top 10 when the rankings are released Monday.

Next up for both teams, Tennessee State is at Western Kentucky on Dec. 1. and Kentucky hosts Monmouth on Wednesday night.

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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.