LEXINGTON, Ky. – Senior Kikko Haydar's (@AkaKikko) first two points came at the perfect time, as the Arkansas co-captain buried a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left in overtime to give the Razorbacks a two-possession lead and the eventual 71-67 victory over No. 17/15 Kentucky in front of a crowd of 23,908 on Thursday at Rupp Arena.
Haydar's two free throws finished off a perfect 16-for-16 night at the free throw line for Arkansas, who improved to 19-8 overall and 8-7 in the SEC with its fourth straight win. Kentucky, who has now lost three in a row to Arkansas, including two in overtime this season, is 21-7 on year and 11-4 in conference play.
Just over six weeks ago, the two teams met at Bud Walton Arena with the Razorbacks prevailing in overtime on a put-back dunk by sophomore Michael Qualls (@Mr_WalkOnAir) with 0.2 seconds left. Qualls' dunk which landed at No. 1 on the #SCtop10 that night and next morning turned away a pair of late three-pointers by Kentucky that tied the game at the end of regulation and overtime..
This time it was Arkansas mounting the comeback in the final seconds of regulation, as junior Rashad Madden (@RKMadden00) found redshirt junior Alandise Harris (@AlandiseHarris) in the lane for a layup that cut it to a 60-58 deficit. The Razorbacks forced a turnover on Kentucky's next possession and Madden followed with a pair of clutch free throws with 30 seconds left that tied the game at 60-60.
The only player to take a shot or free throw in the final 1:13 of the regulation for Kentucky, Andrew Harrison's jumper with six seconds left was off the mark and Harris' shot from inside halfcourt after the rebound came up just short.
Entering the game averaging a double-double over his last three contests, senior Coty Clarke (@CTC_4) was Arkansas' go-to guy in overtime, as the versatile forward's three-pointer at the 3:28 mark was the first points scored by either team in the extra frame and gave Arkansas a 63-60 lead.
Arkansas never trailed in overtime, as Clarke scored seven of his 11 points during the five-minute stretch, including four straight at the free throw line that pushed the visitor's lead from 65-64 to 69-64 with 37 seconds left.
Qualls reached double figures against Kentucky for the second time this season, scoring nine of the team's first 13 points en route to a team-best 14 for the game. Clarke added seven rebounds to his 11-point night, while Madden finished with 12 points. The Arkansas bench out-scored the opposition for the 23rd time in 28 games behind 10 points from sophomore Anthlon Bell (@_AntHill), while Harris added eight points and seven boards.
Kentucky was led by sophomore Willie Cauley-Stein's double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds. Freshman Julius Randle joined Cauley-Stein with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. The Wildcats were limited to just 34 percent (26-76) from the field while committing 18 turnovers.
Worthy Of A Hog Call (#WPS)
Arkansas made all 16 of its free throw attempts on the night, including six in overtime. Of those six makes in overtime, four came in the final 40 seconds, as Clarke and Haydar pushed the lead back to two possessions on both occasions. Not to be forgotten in the overtime finish was a pair of free throws by junior Rashad Madden that tied the game at 60-60 with 30 seconds left and force overtime.