- Saturday, January 17 1998 -
Arkansas - 77 (Head Coach: Nolan Richardson) - [Ranked 22nd by AP]
Kentucky - 80 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 6th by AP]
Halftime Score: Arkansas 40, Kentucky 38
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|South Carolina 91 - 70|||||Alabama 70 - 67|
Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 7 No. 20. (All Rights Reserved)
Evans In Overtime:
Despite a horrendous night for turnovers, despite continued poor shooting, shot selection, and decision making, Kentucky won its first overtime game of the season, defeating Arkansas in Rupp Arena. The Wildcats were ranked #6 by AP, the Razorbacks were #22 for this contest. Kentucky is now 6-1 against Top 25 ranked teams this season.
CBS was hung broadcasting the Connecticut-Georgetown game, because the Hoyas didn't seem to realize that they couldn't win by sending UConn to the FT line every few seconds, since the Huskies kept hitting their charity tosses. As a result, the last few minutes of the earlier afternoon game drug on, and Kentucky-Arkansas was joined in progress with the Cats up 11-10. Evans passed to Magloire for an inside layup and it was 13-10 UK. The lead bounced from 1 to 3 for the Cats for the next several minutes, with the Cats narrowly holding a 15-14 edge at the 1st TV timeout. Arkansas began to press the Cats hard, and the Piggies knew what they were doing because Kentucky's ball-handling (especially regarding when and where to pick up the dribble) was poor all day. A Sheppard FT and Mohammed turnaround shot made it 18-14 UK. Then Hood and Mohammed exchanged baskets, but Hood hit a big 3 to close to 20-19. Kentucky's Mike Bradley hit a 13 footer to put UK up 22-19, but after a missed Wallace 3, UK's Bradley embarrassed himself by missing 2 FTs, with the 1st an airball. Minutes later Reid tied the score at 24-24 with a 3, and Williams gave the Hogs a lead on a layup after this. Sheppard quickly tied the score, then Williams just as quickly got the lead back for Arkansas. Evans tied the score on a layup, but the Razorback's Bradley missed a 3, then hit a 3, to go up 31-28 Arkansas. Evans brought the Cats to within 1 on a penetration basket, but Williams hit an 8 footer. Bradley faked Sheppard out of his shoes and hit a 3 to give the Hogs a 36-30 lead. Evans and Davis exchanged shots, then Sheppard drove in for a FG, but then Bradley had a shot goaltended by Mohammed to make it 40-34. Arkansas had some difficulty getting off a decent shot after this (they tried to burn clock, but ended up with no decent shot with Kentucky's tenacious defense). Evans banked a shot in, and then as time expired, Saul Smith drove to the basket. He was called for the charge, incorrectly as the replay clearly showed the Razorback defender moving while contact was made. After some discussion the basket was allowed, and the half ended with Arkansas Coach Nolan Richardson blessing out the referees as CBS followed him off the court. Scott Padgett had a miserable 1st half, scoring only 2 pts, and the Cats were a horrible 1-9 from 3 pt range. Yet overall, Kentucky had shot 50% from the floor in the opening half, compared to 43% for the Razorbacks.
Although Kentucky began the 2nd half with a steal, Padgett became airborne with no plan and turned the ball over when he was wide open for a shot. Davis made the Cats pay by hitting a 16 footer. The Razorbacks saw their 42-38 lead diminish to 42-41 after a single Padgett FT and a Turner dunk when he got ahead of the defense, but Arkansas went right back up 46-41 after a Bradley 16 footer and a high arching Reid shot (UA was aided when Mohammed missed both FT attempts when Williams picked up his 4th foul). Nazr was fouled again, and this time made both FTs, to make it 46-43 Arkansas. The Cats hit a stretch where they were relying far too much on 1-on-1 maneuvers, but the Razorbacks were too quick and smart for such elementary tactics to work, and UK kept racking up the turnovers. The next possession featured 2 turnovers by each side before the next TV timeout. After this Turner managed to hang onto the ball long enough to drive in a FG, and the lead was cut to 46-45 Arkansas. The Wildcats continued to miss easy layups (Evans missed several, as did Edwards), which allowed the Piggies to pull away as Reid drove uncontested to the hoop (picking up a late foul, but he did not hit the FT), Bradley hit a well defended 3, then Wallace got a layup, and with 11 minutes left in the contest, UK trailed 53-47. Turner broke the dry spell with an 18 ft shot, but Adebayo kept the margin by making an easy layup. Evans had a putback of a Smith missed 3, and the lead was cut to 55-51 Arkansas. Baskets by Bradley, Adebayo, and a FT by Wallace gave the Razorbacks their largest lead of the game at 60-53. Padgett as tough in the next possession, missing but getting his own rebound, putting the shot back and getting fouled for an old-fashioned 3 pt play, which cut the lead to 60-56 UA. Kentucky began to stage a bit of a rally, as their defense was picked up a notch, and Arkansas had trouble getting shots off before the shot clock expired. Wallace finally scored to make it 62-56, but Kentucky scored the next 6 pts as Sheppard nailed a 13 footer, Padgett got a dunk, and Turner drove for a basket. With the score tied at 62-62, Williams made a layup, but Evans hit a 3 to put the Cats ahead 65-64. Wallace answered with a 3, then Turner jeopardized the rally by mindlessly penetrating and drawing an offensive foul. After a UA miss, Mohammed put back a Sheppard miss to again tie the game at 67-67. The Hogs began to play very conservatively, not shooting until the shot clock was almost at 0, and although they had the ball with 15 seconds to play, Reid could only get off a poor attempt with 2 seconds left, which missed.
In overtime (the first such game of the season for both schools), Evans blew through for a layup to make it 69-67 Kentucky. Turner stole the ball, which led to an Evans dunk, and the crowd went crazy as the Cats forged their first 4 pt lead since the 1st half. After an Arkansas timeout, Bradley made a tough shot despite good defense (the Hogs did not go down quietly) to cut the margin to 73-71, and they had chances to do better when the Cats overpassed inside and gave up a turnover. UA could do nothing with it, however, and Evans had a layup in a 2-on-1 fast break to make it 73-69 UK. After several misses on both sides, Davis put back a Bradley miss, and the margin was again 2 for Kentucky. Evans made 1 FT after being fouled by Wallace, but when Heshimu missed his 2nd FT try, Padgett got the rebound and put it back in, giving the Cats a 76-71 lead with little time remaining. Arkansas began to launch desperate heaves which were not close to going in. Sheppard was fouled, and made both, for a 78-71 margin with under a minute remaining (this was the largest lead of the game for the Cats). There was no quit in the Pigs, however, as Bradley nailed a 3 despite good defense. Padgett added 1 FT toss, then Bradley made yet another 3 despite being double teamed outside. With the margin 79-77 UK, Kentucky burned clock until Bradley fouled out against Turner. Wayne made 1 FT, and Wallace missed a tying 3 as time expired to preserve Kentucky's 16th win in 18 outings.
For some reason (only part of which was good Arkansas defense), Kentucky hit a miserable 2 of 19 3 pt attempts. The 20 pts chipped in by Evans were his season high. UK tied its season high with an obscene 22 turnovers (the Cats also had this many against Georgia Tech). Its 10 assists was a season low. The Cats hit 4 of 5 shots in OT.
Scott Padgett tries to score