Kentucky loses to Arkansas again, 71-67 in OT
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP)
With each missed free throw in the second half and particularly down the stretch went a chance for the Wildcats to put away the stubborn Razorbacks. Kentucky missed eight of 14 from the line in the second half and three of four near the end of regulation, leaving openings that Arkansas gladly seized.
The Razorbacks took advantage and eventually forced overtime by making their foul shots. In fact, they made all 16 from the line, including six in OT, when Coty Clarke and Kikko Haydar combined for perfection that handed the 17th-ranked Wildcats a 71-67 defeat on Thursday night.
Kentucky (21-7, 11-4 Southeastern Conference) had its two-game winning streak snapped and lost its third straight to Arkansas (19-9, 8-7).
''They play hard,'' Wildcats forward Alex Poythress said. ''They're really scrappy. They played a great game, hitting all their open shots, got to the foul line a lot. They just played a great game.''
Missed foul shots were among the many reasons the Wildcats lost five days after an emotional, come-from-behind win over LSU. They struggled to make shots around the basket, went 3 of 11 from behind the arc and committed 18 turnovers that led to 21 points.
''We took a big step back,'' Kentucky coach John Calipari said. ''Great lesson. Had our chances to win. They made offensive rebounds. They miss a shot, the ball comes, we've got no one. It was frustrating.''
Willie Cauley-Stein led Kentucky with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Andrew Harrison and Julius Randle each scored 14 and James Young 11 on a night when the Wildcats shot just 26 of 76 (34 percent) from the field.
Arkansas shot only 41 percent, but that was good enough for its first win at Rupp Arena since its 1993-94 NCAA championship season.
''Our guys wanted it more,'' Razorbacks coach Mike Anderson said, ''and you could see that coming down the stretch.''
Kentucky trailed by as many as 12 in the first half and 37-30 at halftime. The Wildcats were down 50-43 with 12:03 remaining and struggling for offensive consistency before battling back with tough defense to outscore the Razorbacks 11-2 over 6:14. Cauley-Stein's dunk at the 5:31 mark provided Kentucky's first lead since the early minutes.
But the Wildcats missed three of four free throws late in regulation, allowing Arkansas to come back and force overtime.
Arkansas had a chance to win at the end of regulation after Clarke blocked Andrew Harrison's jumper, but Alandis Harris' long 3-pointer bounced off the rim.
Clarke took over from there in overtime, scoring seven points to help Arkansas beat Kentucky six weeks after Michael Qualls stunned the Wildcats with a last-second dunk in OT.
Clarke lifted the Razorbacks this time with a 3-pointer and four free throws in the extra period, including two with 36.7 seconds left for a 69-64 lead.
Young's 3-pointer brought Kentucky within two, but Haydar made two more from the line with 17 seconds left for the final margin.
Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison each missed a 3 at the end for the Wildcats.
''It just seemed like the energy wasn't there like normal,'' Cauley-Stein said.
The surging Razorbacks have won four straight and six of seven.
Clarke finished with 11 points, one of four Razorbacks in double figures. Qualls scored 14 to lead the way, with Rashad Madden adding 12 and Anthlon Bell 10.