LEXINGTON, Ky. –Despite 32 points off the bench, the University of Arkansas men’s basketball team fell to No. 2 Kentucky 86-63 Tuesday night at Rupp Arena. Arkansas drops to 13-5 on the season, while Kentucky improves to 18-1.
"This is a learning situation for our guys," said Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson. "We just weren’t doing the things that we’d been doing. Going through this experience hopefully can only help our basketball team."
The Razorbacks shot 50 percent from the field in the second half and made five second-half threes, but could not overcome a first half in which they shot 31 percent and entered the break trailing by 16 points.
Facing its toughest opponent of the season, Arkansas was unable to use its speed to create points as it has all season. Kentucky turned the ball over just 12 times, allowing the Razorbacks to score just 10 points off of turnovers. The Wildcats earned a 38-26 rebounding advantage in the game.
Behind nine quick points from freshman Anthony Davis, Kentucky jumped out to a 15-4 lead seven minutes into the game. The lead increased to 20 points, 33-13, before Arkansas freshman BJ Young scored six straight points to help Arkansas come within 14, 35-21. Two free throws gave Kentucky its 37-21 lead heading into halftime.
The Razorbacks stuck with the Wildcats for the first four minutes of the second half, getting a layup and a three-pointer from sophomore Mardracus Wade with 16:39 left to make the score 46-30. Davis responded with 11 points over the next six minutes to help Kentucky open up a 70-42 lead with 10:06 left in the game.
Senior Marvell Waithe and freshman Rashad Madden combined for three three-pointers over the final 4:21 to give Arkansas a scoring spark, but it was too little too late for the Razorbacks.
"In the final minutes we did do some good things," Anderson said. "We did shoot the ball well. Against a team like Kentucky you’ve got to have great ball movement, people movement, and you’ve got to make shots."
Arkansas was led in scoring by Wade, who scored 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Waithe, Madden and BJ Young each scored 10 points off the bench. Guards Rickey Scott and Julysses Nobles led the Razorbacks with five rebounds each.
Davis scored 27 points on 10-of-12 shooting, and added 14 rebounds to lead Kentucky. He also tallied five blocks.
The Razorbacks return to action on Saturday, Jan. 21, with a non-conference contest against No. 20 Michigan inside Bud Walton Arena at 1 p.m. For more information about Razorback basketball, please log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.