WHY ARKANSAS WON: Arkansas was in Kentucky’s face defensively throughout the game and dominated the Wildcats on the defensive glass. The Razorbacks (18-11, 9-7 in Southeastern Conference) forced the Wildcats (20-9, 11-5) into a season-high 19 turnovers and outscored Kentucky 30-2 off the mistakes. Arkansas also collected its SEC-high 20 offensive rebounds, outworking Kentucky on the glass Saturday. The hustle resulted in another big home win for a team still fighting for postseason play.
WHY KENTUCKY LOST: John Calipari said his team better be ready for Arkansas’ aggressiveness. It’s clear the ‘Cats were not. Kentucky had trouble keeping pace with Arkansas’ constant pressure and deep bench. Two Kentucky players who had been particularly key in the Wildcats’ three-game win streak struggled Saturday. Guards Julius Mays and Ryan Harrow combined for 13 points on 4 of 17 shooting.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Arkansas forward Coty Clarke second-half surge continued with 14 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists Saturday. The double-double was the first of his career. Clarke played a big role in Arkansas’ dominance on the offensive boards (Clarke had six of Arkansas’ 20). The six assists were more than UK’s five.
STAT OF THE GAME: Arkansas coach Mike Anderson wants his team to get up 70 shots a game. The Hogs came close Saturday. Arkansas may not have turned in a strong shooting performance, but did go 24-for-69 from the field (34.8 percent). The biggest surprise: The Hogs’ 69 field goal attempts were 26 more than Kentucky. “I wish we had made more, but we took them – I know that,” Anderson said.
UNEXPECTED START: Anderson made another change to the starting lineup, putting guard Fred Gulley on the court with Marshawn Powell, Coty Clarke, Mardracus Wade and BJ Young. Gulley didn’t play at LSU and logged 10 minutes in the previous six games. But Gulley was effective (4 points and 3 rebounds). The key stretch came at the start of the second half, when Gulley knocked down a 3-pointer, then collected a steal and fired a long pass to BJ Young for a breakaway dunk that made it 37-31.
WELCOME HOME: Kentucky guard Archie Goodwin, who starred at Sylvan Hills, was booed throughout his “homecoming.” Goodwin finished with a team-high 14 points and Kentucky coach John Calipari complimented the freshman for the way he handled the spotlight. Goodwin was asked if the booing bothered him and said he ignored it. “It doesn't feel bad at all because I'm not from Fayetteville, I'm from Little Rock,” Goodwin said. “Everybody in Little Rock loves me, that's all that matters to me. … If I was from here it would be different.”
QUOTE OF THE GAME: “We struggled when it was body to body. We didn’t fight back, so they pushed us. It was a great game for them. They deserved to win. We deserved to be going home sad on a plane.” — Calipari
UP NEXT: Arkansas goes back on the road to a familiar place for Mike Anderson and his staff. The Razorbacks will play Missouri in Columbia, Mo., on Tuesday night in a game televised by ESPN. It’s Anderson’s first trip back to Missouri since leaving for the Razorbacks after the 2010-11 season. Arkansas, which is 1-10 outside the state, own the first meeting between the teams on Feb. 16. Arkansas guard BJ Young scored 7 points in the final minutes to help the Hogs overcome a late deficit.
— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau