It was quite the Saturday at the University of Arkansas’s Bud Walton Arena which was an absolute battle between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Arkansas Razorbacks. This game featured lead changes, ejections, and momentum swings in this huge conference match-up. The Kentucky Wildcats came into the game ranked at #10 were underdogs at +1.5 against the (14-2) Razorback squad and this Saturday late afternoon match-up. Although Kentucky was the underdogs, this was a game that fans knew this team desperately needed in order to avenge their heartbreaking loss to South Carolina Wednesday night.
The refs kept themselves awfully busy in this game as there was a combined 4 players that fouled out, two on each side. There were a combined 57 free throws attempted in this game. Beneficiaries of those free throws were Nick Richards and Immanuel Quickley who went a combined 11-13 from the line. Paired with Ashton Hagans they were the leading scorers for Kentucky in this match up.
After a strong first half of scoring in transition and aggressive offensive rebounding, the Wildcats held a 7 point lead going into the second half. However, their cold start to the second half going 0-6 from three gave Arkansas the opportunity to get back into the game. It was an opportunity they took advantage of and halfway through the second half we had a tied ball game. The crowd was going crazy and the officials were not letting much go on either side. After a questionable illegal screen call on Kentucky forward EJ Montgomery, Coach Cal wanted to discuss the call and had to be restrained by the officials and was ultimately ejected from the game.
After his ejection, Arkansas hit their free throws to take a lead, their first of the game. Per Coach Calipari’s instragram page Point Guard Ashton Hagans said to him, “We got this.” The Wildcats backed up Hagans’ words, going on an amazing 17-2 run following his ejection. Nick Richards was automatic from the field and free throw line and was the catalyst of this run. He finished the game with 17 points and 9 boards. Immanuel Quickley hit a huge three down the stretch that got the lead to 59-49 and was the ultimate dagger to the heart of the Razorbacks. Although he had a cold shooting performance going 3-14 from the field, he finished with a double-double in his own right with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Hagans had a big time performance as well prior to him fouling out with 13 points and 6 assists.
In the latest AP rankings, the Wildcats have fell to #15 and are sitting at a record of 13-4. Once ranked #1, Kentucky has a long road back to the top but this weekend’s win was a huge step in the right direction. Georgia is making their visit to Lexington tomorrow night at 9 PM as future 1st round pick Anthony Edwards and the Bulldogs are looking to seek revenge after UK got a victory in their last game. Click here to see the recap of that game.
The link below is the extended highlights of the game.
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