- Wednesday, February 9 1994 -
Arkansas - 90 (Head Coach: Nolan Richardson) - [Ranked 3rd by AP]
Kentucky - 82 (Head Coach: Rick Pitino) - [Ranked 4th by AP]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 47, Arkansas 41
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Massachusetts 67 - 64|||||Syracuse 85 - 93|
Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 3 No. 23. (All Rights Reserved)
Pitino Plastered by a Passel of Pesky Piggies:
This was one which "got away" from the Cats, as Kentucky saw its 33 game home win streak come to an end last Wednesday. Arkansas continued its regular season mastery of the Cats as the Porkers went away with a 90-82 victory. This game saw the debut of new Kentucky uniforms (the old ones were disallowed by the NCAA, because their pinstripes were interpreted to be a "logo"), and which unfortunately included the most garish blue striped shorts imaginable. Pitino wore cowboy boots during the first half (a gift from Nolan Richardson for Rick's efforts in charity fundraising), but they were too tight and Rick switched to loafers in the second half.
Kentucky trailed for much of the early going. Arkansas went up 6-2, but the Cats slowly battled back. Early going saw numerous Hog fast breaks and passes over Kentucky's press, but the Cats had their share of runout baskets as well, and they forced several Hog turnovers. The Cats came back to take a 14-12 lead on a Delk runout. UK later expanded its margin to 25-22 over Arkansas, but it should have been much worse for the visitors - Kentucky missed several easy layups and dropped many rebounds back into the hands of the Piggies.
The Arkansas players, as is their tradition, did a lot of trash talking during the game, but it was Rodrick Rhodes who was slapped with a technical foul for talking back late in the first half, and up to that point he had been playing rather well. He was never a major factor in the game thereafter, however. His T came after a fine spin move and basket (and foul) on Beck. The game was a battle of spurts - UK had a 21-6 run which put them up 39-24 in the first half, but Arkansas saved their 26-9 run for the second half, to put the game away. Kentucky's normally tenacious defense instead gambled on stealing the ball on numerous occasions (particularly Riddick and Rhodes), and were more often than not burned when they failed. UK's first half lead was trimmed to 47-41 at intermission.
The Razorbacks repeatedly threw great passes cleanly over the UK press, many of which resulted in layups. But Kentucky's defense was decent in the first half and in parts of the second. They rebounded on nearly equal terms with the much more athletic Hogs, and got their fair share of turnovers. What killed Kentucky was godawful shot selection, particularly on the part of Tony Delk, who ended with a respectable 16 points, but it was on miserable 6-23 shooting (some of his early shots didn't even draw iron, and many just barely hit the backboard). Travis Ford wasn't much better, going 3-10. UK's 3 point shooting finally deserted them completely, with the Cats hitting a meager 10-40. Many of their 3 point shots were ill-advised, as well. Kentucky started off going 1-6 in field goal shooting, and 1-9 in 3 point shooting. Travis Ford missed 2 3 point shots in a single possession. Numerous easy layups were botched by UK.
Despite fears to the contrary, UK did moderately well at the center spot. Jared Prickett and Gimel Martinez scored 11 points, and Prickett grabbed 20 rebounds. Prickett appeared to score easily on those few occasions when he received the ball down low. Most of Martinez's scoring, however, came late in the game, and Riddick was almost a non-factor (his free throw line problems hurt the team). Neither Travis Ford nor Tony Delk was responsive from the 3 point line, going a combined 4-22. Chris Harrison came in briefly to shoot free throws for Martinez, who had to leave the game temporarily due to bleeding (Chris hit both). Sheppard didn't make it into the game, and McCarty's major contribution was a turnover (getting up in the air and having no one to pass to).
Arkansas's big second half run allowed them to cut Kentucky's lead to 50-49, then the Cats pulled ahead on shots by Riddick and Prickett to go up 56-49, but shortly after this a run by the Hogs (fueled by shots by McDaniel and Thurman) put the Razorbacks up 65-56 with about 10 minutes left in the half. The Hogs maintained 8-9 point leads until, as time wound down, an old-fashioned 3 point play by Gimel Martinez cut the lead to 5 with 5 minutes left to play. Ford brought Kentucky to within 4 at the 4.5 minute mark, and missed Arkansas free throws gave UK every opportunity to pull out the win. Great Kentucky pressure caused a large number of Arkansas turnovers at this time (including one of two Hog shot-clock violations for the game), but the Cats couldn't take effective advantage of this.
Kentucky pulled to within 2, 79-77, with a rally of its own at the two minute mark in the game. Instead of working patiently, UK then began a needless 3 point barrage (few of the shots came close), and as the Cats crashed the boards trying for rebounds, Arkansas got the ball and threw downcourt for easy layups. Despite loose defense under the basket, Kentucky continued to try to get back in the game by the 3 point shot, and this accounted for the 8 point final deficit. Stellar play by Thurman and Williamson sealed the victory for Arkansas.
After the game, Coach Pitino said that this was the most disappointed he has been with a team in 22 years of coaching. "When they took the lead, we stopped working hard. We didn't handle success well, and we didn't handle adversity well. We acted so elementary. People didn't listen and learn." If there were any positives to the game, it was a) the hustling play of Jared Prickett, b) the knowledge that the Cats could at least halfway compete with Arkansas inside, although towards the end of the game they chose not to, and finally c) Kentucky, whose rebounding had not been one of its strengths, outrebounded the SEC's leading team in that statistic.
Jared Prickett (#32) pulls in a rebound in front of Dwight Stewart (#15)
Jared Prickett (#32) drives on Corliss Williamson