- Sunday, March 12 1995 -
SEC Tournament Championship (at Atlanta, GA)
Kentucky - 95 (Head Coach: Rick Pitino) - [Ranked 3rd by AP]
Arkansas - 93 (Head Coach: Nolan Richardson) - [Ranked 5th by AP]
Halftime Score: Arkansas 50, Kentucky 44
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Florida 86 - 72|||||Mount St. Marys 113 - 67|
Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 4 No. 35. (All Rights Reserved)
Kentucky roared back from regulation and overtime deficits of 19 and 9 points respectively to win its 19th SEC Tournament championship by by beating Arkansas 95-93 in overtime. Kentucky was ranked 3rd in the AP, Arkansas 5th, when this game was played. This win clinched UK's 4th straight SEC Tournament title. Rick Pitino remains undefeated at 12-0 in post-season SEC tournament games. Of the win, Kentucky's Mark Pope said, "This is basketball heaven. It just can't get any better."
Although UK started off strong with Riddick hitting 2 FTs after a Robinson foul, it was all Arkansas for the rest of the half (although the Cats did tie the game at 7-7). Terrific Razorback shooting and nervousness on the part of the Cats combined to allow the Hogs to go up 7-3 on a McDaniel 3, a Williamson drive, and a Robinson jump hook. Rodrick Rhodes was called for a bogus offensive foul on a drive, one of two such bad calls he received in the game (McCarty was also once called for this as the Arkansas players deserved Oscars for Best Actors while falling down from next-to-no contact). The Piggies led by 21-11 as UK missed almost everything and the Hogs could do no wrong (especially Thurman on the 3s and Williamson inside). UK scratched back with a Walker drive and a Pope FT, but the Razorbacks soon climbed out to a 29-16 edge on a McDaniel layup, a Wilson layup, and a Beck layup.
From there, it just got worse and worse - the Hogs led 35-16 with 9:24 left in the 1st half, as the Cats were facing a potential blowout. Tenacious defense and slightly improved shooting helped the Cats' position, as they scored their 1st 3 pointer (by Pope) with 2:09 left in the 1st half, and they closed to within 50-44 at the break. Williamson had been held to 6 points for Arkansas at the half.
Arkansas rebuilt much of its lead in the second half, however. With the Wildcats down 91-82, freshman Antoine Walker drove against Williamson and made a layup as he was fouled (Williamson's 5th). The Piggies did not attempt another shot from the floor from this point in the game except for Thurman's desperation heave as time wound down. Continued Wildcat fouls and Arkansas FT misses let UK creep ever closer.
With the score tied 80-80, Williamson made a careless pass with 5.5 seconds left in regulation, and Rhodes stole the ball and was fouled by McDaniel as he drove for the basket. Rod had 2 FT chances with 1.3 seconds left in regulation. He missed both, and did not play in the overtime. Rhodes had not been in the game for 8:53 before being inserted in the waning seconds of regulation, and he had made 5 of 6 FTs in the 1st half.
The Razorbacks scored the 1st 7 points in overtime to go up 87-80, and they later led 91-82, but their FT shooting relaxed as they missed 4 of 6 FTs in the final 1:11. UK scored the final 8 points in regulation as outlined below.
Tony Delk hit a critical 3 with 39 seconds remaining in the game to make the score 93-90, and Antoine Walker had a crucial steal as the Arkansas ball-handling late in the game was weak. Walker scored a 2 point basket with 24 seconds left, then Anthony Epps stole the inbounds pass right under the UK basket, missed one shot, got his own rebound, and was fouled during his next attempt. He hit 2 critical FTs with 19 seconds remaining in overtime to put the Cats up 94-93. Scotty Thurman attempted a very ill-advised, long 3 which missed, and Delk was fouled on the rebound. Tony hit 1 of 2 FTs with 0.6 seconds left in the game, to provide the final margin of 95-93. Arkansas got off a desperation heave as time ran out which hit the rim but bounced off.
Arkansas' Corey Beck defends against Anthony Epps
Although after a victory, Rodrick Rhodes is consoled by Anthony Epps
Head Coach Rick Pitino is doused with Gatorade celebrating the victory