FAYETTEVILLE – For the third time in the last six games, Arkansas found itself down 11 in the second half. While the Razorbacks (14-3, 3-2 SEC) battled their way back to take a three-point lead with 8:19 to play, the 10th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats (13-4, 4-1 SEC) rallied to secure a 73-66 victory before a sold-old Bud Walton Arena Saturday afternoon.
Unlike their wins at Indiana and Ole Miss – the other games the Hogs trailed by 11 in the second half, the Razorbacks were unable hold on for the win despite out-scoring Kentucky 20-6 over a nine-minute span to lead 47-44.
With 14:42 left, Kentucky led by eight (42-34) after Keion Brooks Jr. jumper in the lane. The teams went scoreless over the next three minutes until Mason Jones converted an old-fashion three-point play to get to within five. Jalen Harris followed with a 3-pointer. Kentucky temporarily stopped the momentum with a Tyrese Maxey jumper with 10:28 to play.
Only four points were scored over the next two minutes, all by Arkansas to tie the game, 44-44. Reggie Chaney got Arkansas back on track with a rebound and put-back off a missed free throw. Jimmy Whitt Jr., then tied the game, with two free throws.
With 8:19 remaining, Kentucky coach John Calipari picked up two technical fouls. Jones hit 3-of-4 from the line to give the Razorbacks a 47-44 lead. Overall, Arkansas used a 16-4 run, including a 7-0 spurt, to take the lead. Jones scored nine during the run.
The teams traded baskets before Kentucky regained the advantage with a 15-0 run to take a 12-point lead (61-49 with 2:42 left).
The Wildcats pushed their lead to 11 with 43 seconds left but the Razorbacks fought to the end, getting to within five (69-64 with 22 ticks left. Kentucky made all four of its free throws inside the final 19 seconds to secure the win.
Immanuel Quickly led five Kentucky scorers in double figures with 13 points and 10 rebounds while Nick Richards had 17 points and nine boards. Jones led the Hogs with 19 points while Whitt added 14 and Isaiah Joe 13.
Arkansas hits the road to face Mississippi State on Wednesday (Jan. 22). The Razorbacks return home to host TCU in the annual Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday (Jan. 25) on ESPN2 at 3 pm..
FIRST HALF: Arkansas 27 – Kentucky 36
• Arkansas led by one (11-10) at the first media time out. Kentucky led by two (17-15) at the second media timeout and by four (24-20) at the third.
• Kentucky’s largest lead was nine points (36-27) at halftime.
• Mason Jones led all scorers with 10 points in the period
• Adrio Bailey had three steals and two blocked shots. Jimmy Whitt Jr., added two rejections as well.
• Arkansas was just 9-of-23 from the field (.391) but was 6-of-8 from 3-point land (.750).
• Arkansas trailed at halftime for the fifth time this season. Arkansas is 3-2.
SECOND HALF: Arkansas out-scored Kentucky 39-37 in the second half.
• Arkansas erased an 11-point deficit despite shooting just 23.9% from the field in the half.
• Jimmy Whitt Jr., scored a game-high 14 points in the second half, making 8-of-8 free throws.
• Arkansas was only out-rebounded by one, 20-19, in the second half.
• Arkansas’ starting lineup was Jimmy Whitt (G) – Isaiah Joe (G) – Desi Sills (G) – Mason Jones (G) – Adrio Bailey (F) for the 16th time this season.
• Kentucky won the tip. It was the eighth time in 17 games the opponent won the tip. Arkansas is 7-1 in such games.
• Kentucky’s Ashton Hagans scored the first points of the game, a 3-pointer at 18:56 Mason Jones scored the Razorbacks’ first points at 18:36. He has scored Arkansas’ first points seven times this season and the team is 5-2 in those games.
• Kentucky had a 15-0 run late in the game to secure the win. It was the first time this season Arkansas has allowed its opponents to have a run of 10-points or more this season.
• Mason Jones led the team in scoring (19 points), rebounds (6) and assists (2).
• Jimmy Whitt Jr., scored all 14 of his points in the second half, making 8-of-8 from the free throw line.
• Adrio Bailey had three steals, two blocks and five rebounds.
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