FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (LEX 18) — For the second game in a row, Kentucky let a double digit second half lead slip away on the road. However, unlike on Wednesday in their loss to South Carolina, the Wildcats found a way to gut out a victory.
Kentucky topped Arkansas, 73-66, on Saturday afternoon to hand the Razorbacks their first home loss off the season. Arkansas entered the game 10-0 in Bud Walton Arena.
The Wildcats (13-4, 4-1 SEC) pulled out the victory despite head coach John Calipari being ejected with 8:19 to play with the game tied 44-44. Arkansas falls to 14-3 (3-2 SEC) with the loss.
Nick Richards led Kentucky with 17 points while Immanuel Quickley (13 points, 10 rebounds) recorded the game's lone double-double. Ashton Hagans (13 points), Tyrese Maxey (11 points) and Keion Brooks Jr. (10 points) also broke double figures for Kentucky.
Mason Jones led the Razorbacks with 19 points.
Arkansas jumped out to an 11-7 lead before a pair of 3-pointers from Ashton Hagans and Nate Sestina helped give the Wildcats a 15-12 lead. The Wildcats stretched their lead to nine points, 29-20, off a 3-pointer from Johnny Juzang with 5:26 to play in the first half. The Wildcats also held a nine-point lead at halftime, 36-27.
Kentucky led 42-34 with 14:42 to play before a 10-2 Arkansas run all of a sudden tied the game at 44 with 8:49 to play.
A few moments later, John Calipari was issued a double-technical foul and was ejected after disagreeing with a foul called on E.J. Montgomery. The Razorbacks seemed to have all the momentum after Jimmy Whitt Jr. hit a jumper to give Arkansas a 49-46 lead with 7:14 to play.
However, moments after Montgomery hit a free throw to cut the deficit to two, Maxey capitalized on an old-fashioned 3-point play to give Kentucky the lead back and jump start a 15-0 run that sucked the life out of Bud Walton Arena. Brooks Jr. capped off the run with a jumper that gave Kentucky a 61-49 lead with 2:42 to play.
Joe Isaiah ended the run with a layup to cut Kentucky's lead to 10 points before Richards slammed home an alley-oop pass from Maxey to push Kentucky's lead back out to 12 points with 1:57 to play.
Arkansas crept back within five points with 22 seconds to play, but never got any closer as Kentucky held on for the seven point victory.
Kentucky is back in action against Georgia (11-5, 1-2 SEC) on Tuesday at Rupp Arena. The Wildcats defeated the Bulldogs 78-69 in Athens, Ga. on Jan. 7.
The game will be streamed on ESPN.