Bud Walton Arena did not disappoint tonight, and neither did Michael Qualls. The Arkansas crowd brought a “white-out” as Kentucky came to Fayetteville to take on the Razorbacks. The rowdy bunch seems to cause an early distraction for UK, and the refs as well.
Early foul calls, two on Aaron Harrison, allowed Arkansas to gain a 8-2 lead. Nothing knew there as Kentucky always allow the opposing team to have the first punch. After a timeout, UK came back with scores from James Young before Harrison re-entered to hit two three balls, putting UK in front with 12 minutes to go in the first half.
The remaining ten minutes were much different. Two very non-aggressive flagrant one fouls calls that turned into a four point swing, quick run for Arkansas to go up nine. But, Kentucky bounced right back with their own 10-0 run before the half ended 43-41 ARK.
Kentucky continued to own the glass with 21 to Arkansas’s 13 but the Razorbacks took 17 more field goal attempts than the Cats, 36-19
Leading scorer for Kentucky with 14 was James Young on 5/8 shooting. Teammates Aaron Harrison and Alex Poythress both contributed eight points. Poythress was 3/3 off the bench, all dunks and grabbed four rebounds.
Half two started as Arkansas put another run of eight to take the early lead. But once again, Kentucky fought back. With around 15 minutes to go it became back and forth game with neither team gaining control.
Julius Randle came alive in the second half. Not only scoring and grabbing rebounds for his 10th double-double but his defense. I haven’t seen Randle hound guys and block shots the way he did tonight which helped UK in this battle.
Coming out of the under four-minute timeout, teams were tied 70-70. Arkansas retook the lead with one free throw, 71-70. 1:36 to play, Randle battled down low to reach the free throw line, knocking down 1/2, tying the game for the 14th time 71-71.
1:15 to play Arkansas turned the ball over allowing Kentucky to come down for their chance to take the lead but a shot clock violation gave the ball back to the Razorbacks. With 9.5 seconds to go, Willie Cauley-Stein was called for a block and one that gave ARK the three-point lead before Andrew Harrison nailed a game tying three ball, his first field goal with 1.2 seconds to go to overtime tied 74-74.
Overtime ensued with both teams scoring quick, 80-78 Arkansas half way through the five-minute period.
With 32 Seconds to go, Harrison made two free throws to go down 82-83 with a ensuring foul sending Arkansas to the line where they knocked down both to go up 85-82.
Kentucky once again came down to hit a game tying three ball before Arkansas put up a missed three pointer that was put back in for a dunk, game over 87-85 Razorbacks.
Kentucky had four guys in double-figures. James Young 26, Julius Randle 23, 15 boards, Aaron Harrison 16 and Alex Poythress 12.
All in all, a very crazy game and terrible officiating. Kentucky moves to 12-4, 3-1 in the SEC. next game Saturday afternoon versus Tennessee.