Arkansas Ends Regular Season with Loss to #23 Kentucky
on 2023-03-04 18:06 PM
FAYETTEVILLE – Nick Smith Jr., posted season bests in points (25), assists (6) and steals (4) but Kentucky’s Antonio Reeves answered with 37 points to lead the #23 Wildcats to an 88-79 victory Saturday afternoon at Bud Walton Arena.
Reeves’ 37 points were the most by a Razorback opponent since Kentucky’s Jodie Meeks scored 45 on Feb. 12, 2009, in Bud Walton Arena. Reeves made 12-of-17 shots and was 11-of-11 at the free throw line and had just one turnover in playing all 40 minutes. Jacob Toppin added 21 points (6-of-9 from the field) and sank two 3-pointers that ended a pair of Razorback threats.
First, the Razorbacks used a 7-0 tun to trim a 12-point deficit to five (55-50). Toppin hit the first of his two triples at the 8:50 mark of the second half. Later, Arkansas cut a 10-point deficit to six before Toppin came through again for the ‘Cats with 6:07 left to play.
Overall, Toppin scored 14 of Kentucky’s final 33 points inside the final nine minutes of the game.
The Razorbacks were able to stay within striking distance as they only had six turnovers and forced 15. However, Kentucky shot a blistering 53.7% (29-of-54) from the field – the best by an SEC opponent versus the Hogs this year – while Arkansas only made 35.7% (25-of-70) – the second lowest by the Razorbacks in an SEC game this season.
Oscar Tshiebwe added 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Wildcats and Chris Livingston chipped in nine boards.
In addition to Smith’s 25 points, Arkansas was led by Anthony Black (14 points and eight rebounds), Ricky Council IV (10-of-12 from the free throw line) and Jordan Walsh (10 points and seven rebounds.
Arkansas will return to action on Thursday (Mar. 9) at the 2023 SEC Tournament in Nashville, Tenn. (Bridgestone Arena). The Razorbacks’ opponent and time on Thursday will be determined after games played Saturday (Mar. 4).
FIRST HALF: Arkansas: 36 – Kentucky: 40
• Arkansas scored first but Kentucky took a lead early and did not relinquish it. Kentucky led for 15:37
• Kentucky shot 51.7% and was 9-of-9 from the free throw line. Arkansas shot 41.2% and was 6-of-9 at the line.
• The Wildcats outrebounded the Hogs 20-15, which led to Kentucky outscoring the Razorbacks 11-2 in second chance points.
• Nick Smith Jr., led Arkansas with nine points and four assists. Overall, Arkansas had nine assists with just three turnovers.
• Antonio Reeves led Kentucky with 15 points while Oscar Tshiebwe had 12 points and nine rebounds.
SECOND HALF: Arkansas: 43 – Kentucky: 48
• After Davonte Davis made a 3-pointer at the 18:45 mark of the second half to get Arkansas to within three (42-39), he was called for a foul and back-to-back technical. Kentucky made all four free throws and added a jumper for a six-point possession and a nine-point lead.
• Kentucky led by as many as 14 with 1:41 left but Arkansas refused to go away, trailing by seven with 21 seconds left, thanks to a pair of 3-pointers from Smith, one from Black and two good defensive efforts from Joseph Pinion (getting a steal and drawing a charge).
• Reeves scored 22 of his 37 in the second half, going 7-of-10 from the field and 7-of-7 at the line.
• Arkansas’ starting lineup was Anthony Black – Nick Smith Jr. – Davonte Davis – Makhi Mitchell – Makhel Mitchell for the first time.
• Arkansas won the tip.
• Nick Smith Jr., scored the first points of the game, a 3-pointer at 19:14.
• Ricky Council IV was the first Razorback sub.
• Prior to the game, Arkansas honored its lone senior, Kamani Johnson. He had three rebounds, two points and a steal in 8:05 played.
• Arkansas only committed six turnovers. It was just the fourth time this season the Hogs have committed single-digit turnovers. Arkansas is 22-5 under Coach Musselman when committing single-digit turnovers.
• On the flip side, Arkansas forced 15 turnovers. The Razorbacks are 12-3 this year when forcing at least 15 turnovers and Arkansas is 50-19 un the Muss era in such games.
• Four Razorbacks scored in double figures. Arkansas is 8-5 this year when four Razorbacks score in double figures but just 37-8 in the Muss era in such games.
• Ricky Council IV scored 16 points. He is just two points shy of 1,000 for his collegiate career. He has scored 513 this year and 485 in two years at Wichita State.
• Kentucky snapped a three-game losing skid to Kentucky, improves to 34-14 in the all-time series and 9-8 versus the Hogs in Fayetteville.
• Arkansas had eight dunks, tying for the second-highest total for the season.
For more information on Arkansas Men’s Basketball, follow @RazorbackMBB on Twitter.
(Last updated: 2023-03-04 18:06 PM)