March 4 (UPI) -- Kentucky men's basketball coach John Calipari said his team "got manhandled" during a loss to the Tennessee Volunteers.
The Wildcats (24-6) were on an eight-game winning streak before taking the 81-73 loss Tuesday at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ken. Tennessee (17-13) overcame a 17-point second-half deficit to pull off the Southeastern Conference victory.
"We got manhandled. I got manhandled," Calipari told reporters. "This is one that I know I gotta watch the tape on.
"I'm not going to look forward to watching the tape, but you got to watch the tape."
Volunteers forward John Fulkerson scored a career-high 27 points in the win. Yves Pons hit several clutch jump shots down the stretch to cap off the comeback. The Wildcats led 51-34 with 16:54 remaining. Tennessee then outscored Kentucky 29-9 in a 10-minute stretch to take a 63-60 lead with 6:12 remaining.
The Wildcats tied the score about a minute later, but never retook the lead. Pons hit a 3-pointer to give the Volunteers the lead for good with 5:35 remaining.
Tyrese Maxey scored 21 points to lead Kentucky. Nick Richards had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Wildcats. Josiah-Jordan James scored 16 points and had seven rebounds for the Volunteers.
"I think everybody came to play," Fulkerson said. "We have some big-time players make big-time shots. I think it was a great team effort, a great team win."
The Volunteers out-rebounded Kentucky 31 to 26.
"The game got physical and we couldn't compete," Calipari said. "It just got physical. We tried different ways to try to score and we just, we had nothing. Couldn't throw it to the post. Tried to open up the court, weren't getting by people."
Kentucky finishes the regular season with a game against the Florida Gators at 1 p.m. EST Saturday at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla. Tennessee hosts Auburn at noon EST Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tenn.