Arkansas nips Kentucky in another OT thriller
Lexington, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - The resurgent Arkansas Razorbacks posted a signature road win, topping 17th-ranked Kentucky in overtime for the second time this season, 71-67.
The victory ended a nine-game losing skid at Rupp Arena for the Razorbacks (19-9, 8-7 SEC), who topped the Wildcats last month on Michael Qualls' putback dunk with 0.2 seconds remaining in the extra session.
Qualls paced the Razorbacks with 14 points on Thursday. Rashad Madden netted 12, Coty Clarke had 11 and Anthlon Bell added 10 to round out Arkansas' double-digit scorers.
The Razorbacks have won four straight and six of their last seven games.
Willie Cauley-Stein totaled 16 points and tied a career high with 13 rebounds for the Wildcats (21-7, 11-4), who played in their second consecutive overtime game after edging LSU last Saturday.
"We took a big step back. Great lesson. Had our chances to win. They made offensive rebounds. They miss a shot, the ball comes, we got no one. It was frustrating," said Kentucky head coach John Calipari.
Julius Randle and Andrew Harrison both finished with 14 points for a Kentucky team that struggled shooting. They were just 26-of-76 (34.2 percent) from the floor and made only 12-of-22 free throws.
Conversely, the Razorbacks wrapped up a perfect 16-for-16 performance at the foul line with four free throws in the final 36.7 seconds.
Down 12 points in the first half, the Wildcats fought back to grab a 57-52 lead on a Cauley-Stein dunk and an Aaron Harrison 3-pointer with 4:43 to play in regulation.
Andrew Harrison made 1-of-2 free throws to put Kentucky up 60-56 with 1:13 remaining, but an Alandise Harris layup and two Madden free throws tied the game.
Extra time was then needed to determine a victor after Clarke blocked Andrew Harrison's jumper in the lane and Harris missed a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Razorbacks never trailed in overtime.
With Kentucky down by three in the final minute, Aaron Harrison missed a floater in the lane after an Arkansas turnover. Clarke was then fouled by Randle while securing the defensive rebound and sank two free throws to make it 69-64 with 36.7 seconds to play.
James Young nailed a 3-pointer on the next Kentucky possession. After the Wildcats failed to create a turnover, Cauley-Stein fouled Kikko Haydar, who converted at the charity stripe with 17.9 seconds left.
Aaron and Andrew Harrison both missed 3-pointers as Arkansas prevailed once again.
"I knew it was going to take an outstanding performance, especially (on) defense," said Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson.
The Razorbacks' last win at Rupp Arena came during their national championship season in 1993-94 ... Arkansas has won three straight against the Wildcats for the first time in school history ... The loss snapped Kentucky's 17-game winning streak against unranked opponents at home ... The game featured a combined 38 turnovers, including 20 by Arkansas ... Randle grabbed 10 rebounds ... Arkansas shot 41.4 percent.
02/28 03:12:10 ET