LEXINGTON, Ky. – Senior Kikko Haydar’s first two points came at the perfect time, as the Arkansas co-captain buried a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left in overtime to give the Razorbacks a two-possession lead and the eventual 71-67 victory over No. 17/15 Kentucky in front of a crowd of 23,908 on Thursday at Rupp Arena.
Haydar’s two free throws finished off a perfect 16-for-16 night at the free throw line for Arkansas, who improved to 19-8 overall and 8-7 in the SEC with its fourth straight win. Kentucky, who has now lost three in a row to Arkansas, including two in overtime this season, is 21-7 on year and 11-4 in conference play.
Just over six weeks ago, the two teams met at Bud Walton Arena with the Razorbacks prevailing in overtime on a put-back dunk by sophomore Michael Qualls with 0.2 seconds left. Qualls’ dunk which landed at No. 1 on the #SCtop10 that night and next morning turned away a pair of late three-pointers by Kentucky that tied the game at the end of regulation and overtime..
This time it was Arkansas mounting the comeback in the final seconds of regulation, as junior Rashad Madden found redshirt junior Alandise Harris in the lane for a layup that cut it to a 60-58 deficit. The Razorbacks forced a turnover on Kentucky’s next possession and Madden followed with a pair of clutch free throws with 30 seconds left that tied the game at 60-60.
The only player to take a shot or free throw in the final 1:13 of the regulation for Kentucky, Andrew Harrison’s jumper with six seconds left was off the mark and Harris’ shot from inside halfcourt after the rebound came up just short.
Entering the game averaging a double-double over his last three contests, senior Coty Clarke was Arkansas’ go-to guy in overtime, as the versatile forward’s three-pointer at the 3:28 mark was the first points scored by either team in the extra frame and gave Arkansas a 63-60 lead.
Arkansas never trailed in overtime, as Clarke scored seven of his 11 points during the five-minute stretch, including four straight at the free throw line that pushed the visitor’s lead from 65-64 to 69-64 with 37 seconds left.
Qualls reached double figures against Kentucky for the second time this season, scoring nine of the team’s first 13 points en route to a team-best 14 for the game. Clarke added seven rebounds to his 11-point night, while Madden finished with 12 points. The Arkansas bench out-scored the opposition for the 23rd time in 28 games behind 10 points from sophomore Anthlon Bell, while Harris added eight points and seven boards.
Kentucky was led by sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein’s double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds. Freshman Julius Randle joined Cauley-Stein with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. The Wildcats were limited to just 34 percent (26-76) from the field while committing 18 turnovers.
Worthy Of A Hog Call (#WPS)
Arkansas made all 16 of its free throw attempts on the night, including six in overtime. Of those six makes in overtime, four came in the final 40 seconds, as Clarke and Haydar pushed the lead back to two possessions on both occasions. Not to be forgotten in the overtime finish was a pair of free throws by junior Rashad Madden that tied the game at 60-60 with 30 seconds left and force overtime.
@RazorbackMBB Quick Hits
➢ Arkansas’ four-game SEC win streak is its longest since 2010.
➢ The six SEC wins are the most over a seven-game span since the same run in 2010.
➢ Arkansas has won three of its last four road games with its only loss being a one-point defeat at
➢ Arkansas has played four overtime games in SEC play and eight games decided by five points or
➢ Arkansas’ win snapped a nine-game losing streak at Rupp Arena and was its victory since Feb. 9,
➢ The Razorbacks have now taken three straight from Kentucky for the first time in program history.
➢ Head coach Mike Anderson is 4-2 vs. Kentucky.
➢ The ranked win is the 88th in program history and the sixth under Anderson.
➢ Arkansas six wins in February are the second-most in the SEC.
➢ During its current four-game win streak, Arkansas has trailed by more than three points for 11
➢ Arkansas held a 37-30 lead at the half and is now 17-2 this season when leading at the break.
➢ Arkansas scored 20+ points off turnovers for the 15th time this season.
➢ At least four players reached double figures for the 15th time this season.
➢ Qualls scored double-digits for a team-best 21st time.
➢ Qualls brought his team-leading dunk total to 29 with his two slams in the first half off his own
➢ Madden has scored double figures in 12 of 15 SEC contests.
➢ Sophomore Anthlon Bell has reached double figures in back-to-back games for the first time since
➢ Arkansas is 9-2 all-time when Bell scores double figures.
➢ Clarke has reached double figures in five of the last six games.
➢ Clarke has led Arkansas on the boards in the last four games and eight times in SEC action.
➢ Harris’ seven rebounds equaled a season-high set in a win over Clemson.
Coach Anderson Postgame Sound
“I thought our defense was the difference tonight. We were relentless all 45 minutes and I thought it wore them down toward the end of overtime. The end of the game was about who had the most left in the tank and I give our guys a lot of credit to battle through fatigue to make every free throw. Winning against Kentucky and especially in this arena is a tall task and tonight we got it done.”
@RazorbackMBB Postgame Tweetables (140 Characters Or Less)
➢ #WPS @RazorbackMBB has beaten Kentucky three straight times for the first time in program
history. HOGS have now won 4 in a row #Fastest40
➢ .@RazorbackMBB snapped a 9-game losing streak at Rupp Arena & completed the season sweep of
Kentucky with the win #Fastest40 #WPS
➢ Three of Arkansas’ 12 wins over ranked teams on the road have come at Rupp Arena.
➢ Arkansas finished the month of February with six wins, good for the 2nd-most in the SEC
➢ .@RazorbackMBB returns home on Saturday vs. Georgia to an already SOLD OUT Bud Walton
Social Media Recap aka the #Fastest140Characters
Did you get in on the in-game conversation through Twitter at @RazorbackMBB during tonight’s overtime win vs. Kentucky at Rupp Arena? Checkout the social media recap aka #TheFastest140Characers from the team’s third straight win over the Wildcats and join in next time by mentioning @RazorbackMBB or utilizing the hashtag #Fastest40. Join the 20,000+ by following @RazorbackMBB on Twitter and don’t forget about Facebook (/RazorbackMBB) and Instagram (@RazorbackMBB).
Make sure to check out the #Fastest140Characters!
@RazorbackMBB will return home to an already sold out Bud Walton Arena on Saturday when it hosts third place Georgia at 3 p.m. The game will be televised by SEC TV while a list of affiliates that will carry the game will be available leading up to the game. Saturday is the first of two straight games to close out the regular season home schedule, as Ole Miss will visit on Wednesday, March 5.