LEXINGTON – February 7, 2023 – Michael Willis
The Wildcats took to the court to face off against Arkansas looking for revenge for defeating them the past two meetings. Both teams came in with a SEC winning streak. Kentucky was seeking their seventh SEC win in a row, while the Razorbacks were looking to win their fifth SEC game in a row. With an 88 to 73 victory Arkansas continues their streak, as Kentucky’s was cut short.
It was a frantic pace the entire first half. Chris Livingston scored 5 of the first 7 points for the Wildcats as the Cats took an early 7 to 6 lead. The Cats played great defense for the majority of the half, but the Razorbacks scored 2 three-point baskets at the end of the shot clock that kept them in the lead for most of the first half. Kentucky found themselves down 6 with 5 minutes to play when Antonio Reeves knocked down a three and Jacob Toppin made a layup to bring the game back within one. After a technical on John Calipari, Arkansas pushed their lead back to three. Damion Collins hit a jumper at the buzzer to pull the Cats closer going into the half 41 to 40.
Arkansas started the second half with an 11 to 3 run pushing their lead out to 9. For every step the Cats would make to get back into the game, they would take two steps back in the wrong direction. Poor defense and bad officiating had the Wildcats down 12 with 6 minutes left in the game. The Wildcats were unable to gain any traction the rest of the game and lost 88 to 73.
The Wildcats allowed Arkansas to shoot 72% in the second half due to many missed assignments off the pick and roll. This prompted the Cats to play a zone defense briefly, but it was also unsuccessful. Kentucky turned the ball over 15 times and the Razorbacks took advantage scoring 23 points off the mistakes.
The only “bright spot”, as Calipari called him in the post-game conference, was Chris Livingstons play. Livingston had a career high 13 points and grabbed 5 rebounds. He gave the best effort both offensively and defensively.
Cason Wallace led all players with 24 points, but also had 5 turnovers. Damion Collins had his best game of the season with 7 points and 2 rebounds making the most of his eight minutes.
Kentucky goes on the road to take on the Georgia Bulldogs in a noon match-up on Saturday which hopefully will have a different result.