FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas turned up the defensive pressure in the second half and three-point shooting was the difference as the Razorbacks rallied to upset No. 13 Kentucky, 82-78, Sunday in a Southeastern Conference showdown.
The game at Bud Walton Arena drew 20,266, the eighth-largest crowd in school history, and was televised nationally by CBS.
UK shot 47 percent in the first half and led 47-41 at the break. The Wildcats had just 13 turnovers, which matches the second-lowest total UA has forced this year, but their shooting dropped off to 32 percent in the second half. Kentucky shot 39 percent for the game and just 21 percent from three-point range (4-19). Arkansas was 10-of-21 on three-pointers and outscored UK 18-3 from beyond the arc in the second half.
Teddy Gipson’s running jumper in the lane with 12:29 to play gave Arkansas a 61-60 lead. Joe Johnson’s three-pointer from the top of the key with 10:50 left pushed it to 64-60 and the Hogs never led by less than three the rest of the way.
Kentucky (18-8, 11-3), which had an eight-game winning streak snapped, closed within 71-68 on a pair of Tayshaun Prince free throws, but Gipson answered with a three-pointer.
Marquis Estill cut the margin to 76-72 on a four-footer with 4:02 to go, but after running down the shot clock, Jannero Pargo drained a trey from the top of the key for a seven-point lead with 1:21 remaining.
Pargo made two free throws for an eight-point lead with 40 seconds to go before Estill scored with 22 seconds remaining. Cliff Hawkins made a jumper at the buzzer for the final margin.
Arkansas won its third straight and for the eighth time in 11 games, improving to 17-9 overall and 8-6 in the SEC’s Western Division. The win also pushed the Razorbacks into a second-place tie with Alabama, Wednesday’s 7 p.m. opponent in Tuscaloosa.
Johnson led the Hogs with 18 points and 11 rebounds, his third double-double of the season and the fourth of his career. Pargo finished with 16 points. Brandon Dean scored 10 points and had a game-high seven assists, which is also a career high. Charles Tatum and Alonzo Lane added nine and eight points, respectively.
Keith Bogans led UK with 17 points, all in the first half. Prince had 14 points. Each player was five-of-15 from the field.