Fayetteville, AR (SportsNetwork.com) - For the second straight game, the
Arkansas Razorbacks will welcome a nationally-ranked SEC opponent to Bud
Walton Arena, as they tangle with the 13th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats on Tuesday
Since losing a tough road contest to North Carolina on Dec. 14 (82-77),
Kentucky has responded nicely with four consecutive victories, which includes
a 2-0 start in the SEC. The Wildcats won their first true road game of the
season on Saturday afternoon when they went into Nashville and took down
Arkansas meanwhile, has been trending in the opposite direction with two
straight losses in conference action to slip to 11-4 overall. The Razorbacks
suffered their first home loss of the season to nationally-ranked Florida on
Saturday, falling in heartbreaking fashion, 84-82.
The Wildcats hold a 25-9 advantage over the Razorbacks in the all-time series,
which includes a 73-60 home victory in last season's matchup.
Despite getting outshot from the field by Vanderbilt over the weekend, 50
percent to 42.6 percent, the Wildcats still rolled to the nine-point victory
by earning extra possessions with advantages in both rebounding (41-28) and
turnovers (16-10). Willie Cauley-Stein paced the effort with 15 points, doing
so on 7-of-9 from the field. Aaron Harrison netted 14 points, Andrew Harrison
tallied 10 points, eight rebounds and four assists and Julius Randle brought
down 11 rebounds.
Kentucky has been dominant on both ends of the floor this season, as it shoots
47.5 percent from the field for 80.5 ppg while allowing just 65.8 ppg on 39
percent shooting. It is also one of the nation's most active teams on the
glass with a +12.7 rebounding margin, but it is sometimes held back by poor
showing in the turnover battle (-1.3) and at the foul line (.660). Randle's
freshman season has been spectacular, as he registers 16.7 ppg (on 54 percent
from the field) and 10.9 rpg. Fellow first-year players James Young (14.1
ppg), Aaron Harrison (14.0 ppg) and Andrew Harrison (10.9 ppg) have also made
their mark, while Cauley-Stein joins Randle in the frontcourt and posts 10.9
ppg, 7.7 rpg and 3.7 bpg.
In a back-and-forth contest with Florida the last time out, Arkansas lost its
lead in the waning seconds of regulation on a game-tying jumper that forced
overtime, and it never lead in the extra session. Despite keeping the game
close thanks to 10 3-pointers, the squad was ultimately disappointing from the
floor, shooting just 37.5 percent. Rashad Madden was outstanding in spite of
the setback, shooting 9-of-16 from the floor (including 5-of-10 from beyond
the arc) for 23 points. Coty Clarke tallied a double-double with 16 points and
14 rebounds, Bobby Portis logged 14 points and seven boards, while Alandise
Harris and Michael Qualls poured in 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Razorbacks have grown accustomed to high point totals this season, as it
shoots 47.6 percent from the field for 84.5 ppg (15th in the nation), while
also boasting an outstanding scoring defense (67.9 ppg) and turnover margin
(+6.3). Nobody scores more than Qualls' 12.7 ppg, but in total 10 players
contribute at least 3.3 ppg to the deep bench. Portis (12.5 ppg) brings in a
team-best 6.3 rpg, Madden (11.2 ppg) shoots 56.7 percent from the field and
Harris scored 10.4 ppg.
The Sports Network