The first half was very good for the Cats, as they jumped out to the early 17-13 lead after a big 3 by Johnny Juzang.
However, Arkansas isn’t 14-2 on the year by accident, and they were able to keep the game close by going 6/8 from 3 in the first half.
After getting beaten on the glass against the Gamecocks, the Cats made a huge statement on the glass in the first half as they were winning the battle 27-10.
Kentucky held a 36-27 lead at the half.
In the second half, each team exchanged baskets as both got off to solid starts.
Then came the whistles, as the first 7 fouls of the half were called on Kentucky, putting the Razorbacks in the bonus with 15 minutes to play.
Despite the foul trouble, Kentucky continued to battle and held a 42-36 lead at the under 12 timeout.
Things heated up in the next stretch as the fouls continued to pile up on the Cats, but nothing on the other end.
John Calipari had seen enough and gave the refs a piece of his mind, resulting in him getting ejected.
With just under 7 minutes to go, Arkansas held a 49-46 lead.
After Cal was ejected, Kentucky responded perfectly going on a huge 17-2 run of their own to take a 61-49 lead.
That run for the Cats was the difference in the game, as Kentucky got a much-needed 73-66 win.
Here is how Twitter reacted to the big win.
Can't say enough about this win for Kentucky. Everything looked like it was falling apart when Cal got tossed, but this group pulled it together and delivered a knockout blow in a very tough environment. Clutch plays by the big four, especially Tyrese Maxey.— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) January 18, 2020
The players mobbed Coach Cal and teased him as he entered the locker room. pic.twitter.com/tql0riIimw— UK Sports Network (@UKSportsNetwork) January 18, 2020
There's some really piss poor analysis taking place. You'd think Arkansas is shooting itself in the foot when it is actually impossible for a team to shoot better from three. The story of the half is UK +17 (SEVENTEEN) on the glass. Maybe they could mention that little fact?— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) January 18, 2020
Ashton Hagans not being able to make lay-ups will forever baffle me.— BBNation (@BBNation15) January 18, 2020
Officiating stalling the flow of the game. Shocker.— Travis Graf (@Trav_Graf) January 18, 2020
Hope this guy is ok. Looks like someone must have hit him with a projectile from the stands. Thoughts and Prayers pic.twitter.com/0W0rjIOooU— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) January 18, 2020
We are better than these guys only a game because they shot 6-8 from three lol— Eric Murphy (@emurphy24) January 18, 2020
Refs need to take a class on flopping if their going to be able to review it— ©hief 〽️eteorologist (@Dthixton10) January 18, 2020
Brooks and Juzang are balling today!— John Robic's Hair (@JohnRobicsHair) January 18, 2020
NEED them to have their breakthrough!!
If UK can continue its dominance on boards and stay out of serious foul trouble in second half, Cats should be able to maintain its 9-pts half time lead (36-27), but nothing comes easy on the road. Again, UK is having trouble at the FT stripe. Need to keep the rowdy crowd quiet.— Oscar Combs (@wildcatnews) January 18, 2020
Let’s see if UK can survive one of Maxey’s worst games of the season— Travis Graf (@Trav_Graf) January 18, 2020
This is a horrible matchup for him. If he’s not feeling it offensively this probably isn’t the game for him.— T.J. Walker (@TJWalkerRadio) January 18, 2020
Keion Brooks giveth and taketh away. He still hasn't gotten Calipari's message that he's a finisher, not a play-starter/creator.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) January 18, 2020
Immanuel Quickley was due for a cold shooting game but he's going to have to make a few this half with the Cats in foul trouble. He's 2-of-12 today, 0-of-4 from three.— Shawn Smith (@gbbcountry) January 18, 2020
I feel like we’ve seen this before (this week).— Travis Graf (@Trav_Graf) January 18, 2020
Calipari gets a technical foul and now is ejected with 8:19 to go.— John Clay (@johnclayiv) January 18, 2020
I don't know if Cal was trying to get ejected or not, but the second technical was an ego call. If you're a serious ref, you walk over to the coach, pull him aside and at least attempt to explain the call and the first tech. There was no tirade or an obvious reason to call 2nd.— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) January 18, 2020
I wish I had the time to go back through the season and record the number of and-one chances where Kentucky just didn't make the layup after being fouled.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) January 18, 2020
Big time finish by Tyrese Maxey and the foul. He gives Kentucky the lead with the free throw.— Shawn Smith (@gbbcountry) January 18, 2020
Cats answering beautifully here with a mini-run of their own.— Big Blue Nation (@BigBlue9ation) January 18, 2020
Have to guard the perimeter here to close the game.
Conspiracy theory: Cal knee we needed to play zone to win, but hated that so much, that he’d rather get ejected than call a zone himself— Fake Tom Leach (@faketomleach) January 18, 2020
For all the “Cal can’t coach crowd,” look what his ejection did to spark this run. The risk paid off.— Nick Roush (@RoushKSR) January 18, 2020
Kenny Payne looks like a Boeheim disciple!— Justin Rowland (@RowlandRIVALS) January 18, 2020
Arkansas fans starting to head for the exits.— John Clay (@johnclayiv) January 18, 2020
Tyrese Maxey, Nick Richards and Keion Brooks have been the story in crunch time.— Adam Luckett (@AdamLuckettKSR) January 18, 2020
Maybe Cal should get tossed more often. Cats did a great job closing out a win in Bud Walton. Shows a lot of maturity and mental toughness.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) January 18, 2020
People get bothered by coaches being tossed. John Calipari was tossed at Arkansas for “standing-up for his players”. Players LOVE that. Good on Cal. @KentuckyMBB— Rex Chapman (@RexChapman) January 18, 2020
Things aren’t mutually exclusive here:— T.J. Walker (@TJWalkerRadio) January 18, 2020
- Cal getting ejected brought the team together.
- The whistle became more favorable for UK.
- UK’s defensive philosophy shut down Arkansas, and that may not have happened if Cal stayed.
Cal’s gamble paid off this time.
Cal getting ejected because he knows the refs have a personal vendetta against him, but not against Kenny Payne pic.twitter.com/oNNV3tT6lU— KY Clips (@KY_Clips) January 18, 2020
GREAT WIN!!!— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) January 18, 2020
Tough environment, fighting through adversity. Really strong