Knecht Notches 40 in Vols’ 85-81 Setback to Kentucky

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – March 9, 2024 – The University of Tennessee men’s basketball team fell to No. 15/13 Kentucky, 85-81, Saturday evening at a sold-out, over-capacity Food City Center in the final game of the 2023-24 regular season.

Fifth-year guard Dalton Knecht, in his final home outing, registered a career-best 40 points, the 16th such showing in program history and most by any player against the Wildcats in over 11 years, for fourth-ranked Tennessee (24-7, 14-4 SEC).

Knecht’s career-best point total tied for the 14th-most in a game in program history and marked the first 40-point showing since Grant Williams had 43 Jan. 23, 2019, with those the lone two instances by a Volunteer in the last 34 years (1990-2024). The last Tennessee player to score 40-plus in Knoxville was Allan Houston, who had on Feb. 2, 1990.

The Thornton, Colo., native made 14 of his first 27 field-goal attempts and finished 14-of-29 to tie for the most makes by an SEC player this season and tie his career high. He also tied his career best in made 3-pointers with a 6-of-15 ledger.

Additionally, Knecht became the second player in Tennessee history, joining Ernie Grunfeld in 1975-76, to register 35-plus points five times in a single campaign. Four of Knecht’s such outings have come in the last 16 contests.

Zeigler totaled 17 points and a game-best nine assists, while shooting 4-of-11 from 3-point range. Junior forward Jonas Aidoo had 11 points, eight rebounds and a career-high-tying five blocks, the latter mark pacing all players. James added eight points and a game-best 10 rebounds in his 81st and game at Food City Center, where he went 68-13 (.840).

Freshman guard Reed Sheppard co-led the Wildcats with 27 points, including 22 in a second half during which he made his first six 3-point attempts. Overall, he finished 7-of-10 from long range, grabbed six rebounds and dished out a team-high four assists.

Source: UT Sports
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