John Calipari, Wildcats Lose in Historic Fashion – Hogs Beat Kentucky


Hogs sweep John Calipari and his wildcats

You can read more on Coach Cal’s ‘Blame Game’ by clicking here.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Senior Kikko Haydar’s 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 John Calipari and his No. 17/15 Kentucky Wildcats 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 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 found redshirt junior Alandise Harris 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 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, 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.

Post-Game Quotes

Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

Q. (Question regarding if free-throw shooting was the reason UK lost the game.)

COACH CALIPARI: They beat us to loose balls. We missed 10 one-foot shots. We missed all free throws that mattered. We have a lead late, we’re leaving timeouts, not executing.

We took two steps back today. Give them credit, they played hard. They turned us over, but we turned them over. They had 20 turnovers. We left two timeouts. At one point I sat down and I would not speak to them. What are we running? I already told you in the timeout.

We took a big step back. Great lesson. Had our chances to win. They made offensive rebounds. They miss a shot, the ball comes, we got no one. It was frustrating.

A lot of stuff today, all the things I’m talking about, player-driven. Everything was coach-driven today. There was not one player-driven thing today. That’s what happens in that kind of game. When the other team is fighting, you got to be challenged by it, coaches, this is what it looks like.

Q. Looked like some guys were hesitant to shoot from the perimeter. Second straight game where you struggled to make anything away from the basket.

COACH CALIPARI: Our guards didn’t play well. I mean, you could say shooting. I could tell you dribbling. We had three guys that had 11 turnovers between them. So our guard play was horrendous today.

Q. Some people projected a two-team league over the course of the weekend.

COACH CALIPARI: This should be five teams with maybe a sixth. That’s what this league should be.

The sad thing is when we beat each other, the league is soft. Really. When everybody beats each other, it shows the parity of their league, how strong their league is top to bottom.

This league should have five to six teams in.

Q. How disappointing is it at this time of year to have a team that takes two steps back?

COACH CALIPARI: Disappointing. But it’s done now. We’ll have to deal with it. We have one practice and go to South Carolina. It’s almost like: Next, let’s see.

The difference with the Florida game was there was so much to be encouraged about, we could move on. This one is almost like you’re waiting, what’s going to happen in this next game. Hopefully they understand and take stock.

The biggest thing is you have to take responsibility. We throw the ball late to James Young in the corner, really, with timeouts, talking every timeout. You have timeouts, don’t throw it away, don’t put anybody in a bad position. The guy that had to get open didn’t attempt to get open. So we throw the ball to James with the timeout. Turn it over, that’s the ballgame.

None of the three want to take the responsibility. That’s what young guys do. Can’t alibi. Every one of them, ‘My fault, I should have done this,’ you’re right, but I could have done this. You know, ugly.

Q. With all the talk about that celebration after the LSU win, what that would do, did you think this team had turned a corner?

COACH CALIPARI: You know what, at halftime I needed to take more guys out. Dakari (Johnson) just missed a bunch of one-footers. A couple guys shouldn’t have been in the game. They should have been backups and we should have played other people. I knew that.

You’re trying to nudge them to get them to go. You know, all I can tell you is disappointing. I didn’t expect it. I thought they’d come out and play. They didn’t. The other team played harder than they played. The game got physical. We couldn’t make one-footers. It’s physical, so what? There’s bumping and grinding. Then don’t play.

You know, you can’t miss 12 one-foot shots. The guy bumped me, grabbed me, hit me in the face. So what. Let someone else play.

Q. You talk about how this was a good lesson tonight. Are you starting to worry that your team is running out of time to learn from these lessons?

COACH CALIPARI: No, we’re still good. Just like anybody else, you have a bad game and now you move on from it. We had one at LSU and we just had another one. You know, in both games we had our chances.

The thing that disappointed me today is even with the lead, we had two guys that gave up on the game. You know it because you watched and you saw. They gave up on the game.

You got to just keep fighting. It doesn’t matter how you’re playing; it’s about our team. That’s what we’re trying to bust through right now.

Q. You’ve talked a lot this year about having fun.

COACH CALIPARI: This was the game to have fun in because of how they play. They’re running and trapping and scrambling. There’s no real plays. Pass it, move it. One-on-one. You can get out and run.

This is the game to have fun in. We took 76 shots. 20 of ’em bad, but…

If the game got physical and they played really hard, you’re not having fun ’cause they’re playing harder than you. But this was the game. You know, you outrebound them. This is the game to have fun. There’s no plays. They’re trapping. Just throw it and run, go. But if you’re not into it, if you don’t have that energy, if you’re not into team, you can’t have fun. I don’t care what kind of game it is.

Q. You’ve talked about that, having them complement each other, huddle the right way, touch each other. Are you running out of buttons?

COACH CALIPARI: We’re young. We’re 18- and 19-year-olds. The biggest thing is take responsibility. As long as you take responsibility and know you need to change, you’ll change. If you listen to the clutter telling you it’s everyone else on the team and not you, now you don’t change.

Just take responsibility, know what happened, let’s make some changes and let’s move on.

Q. Can you explain the number of lobs that you attempted that weren’t successful? Is it just guys trying to make an easy play?

COACH CALIPARI: They gave us layups. They backed away and the guys were trying to throw lobs when they weren’t there. A couple we didn’t run where the lob would have been there. We weren’t getting out and running. We were jogging the floor.

But the reality of it is they backed away, took away the lob. We’ve had that before. We’ve had teams do that to us. You shoot layups. Just go in and shoot a layup. You don’t need to. Or if they’re all in the lane, you won’t believe this, come to a jump stop, pass it to somebody. They crowd the lane, you got to make that pass.

We got a little anxious today. Like I said, it’s a great lesson for us. Hopefully they take stock in what happened, individual players take stock in how they played. Look at what you did. Look at your numbers. Look at what you did defensively.

We played defense. There was about a five-minute stretch I thought, Now we’re playing. About a five-minute stretch. Then all of a sudden two guys started walking around, heads went down. I’m like, You got to be kidding me.

That’s where we were in this game. Again, give Arkansas credit. They competed and battled. Neither one of us shot the ball very well, but they made their free throws.

It’s really disappointing, 1-2, 0-2 in crunch time, in a game like this. You know what, this is where we are at this point. We’re not going to be great every night out. This is one of those efforts that I’m not happy about, but it’s what it is.

Q. What did you think of Willie (Cauley-Stein) being active?

COACH CALIPARI: Willie was good. Willie tried. Offensively rebounded, went after balls, blocked shots, had a presence. Again, this may have been a 15-or 18-point game if Willie wasn’t in there.

Q. (Question regarding Julius Randle.)

COACH CALIPARI: He was. He played too many minutes. I’m trying to get guys to sub themselves. They just don’t get it. The longer you’re in there, you’re not going to play better, you’re going to play worse. If you’re in there for numbers, you end up missing free throws, missing shots, not getting the key rebounds. You don’t look good. You don’t only hurt yourself, you hurt your team.

Less minutes. Sub yourself. Get yourself out of games. Wasn’t just him. We had a couple guys that tried to play too many minutes.

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#30, Julius Randle, F

On the team taking a few steps backwards tonight… 
“That’s the cost of losing. I guess it’s true. We did take a couple steps back. There were a lot of things that we didn’t do today that we have usually been doing. It’s hard, but we have to stay on-course and stay with the process.”

On if he saw a performance like this coming… 
“No, I never see a loss coming. I never go into a game thinking we are going to lose. I never go into a game thinking that we are not going to put the effort out that we should and do the little things. We just didn’t tonight.”

On putting together 40 minutes of intense defense… 
“That’s just something that we are going to have to figure out. We know it’s there. It’s just something we have to figure out.”

On if he is tired of answering questions about getting over the hump…
“I don’t know if it’s about me being tired of answering the question. I just want to see us reach our potential. We are not where we need to be right now.”

#15, Willie Cauley-Stein, F

On bouncing back from this game …
“Just forget it and move on. There’s not much you can do about it. There’s no reason to soak in it, just remember the feeling. It’s getting too close to crunch time. You can’t dwell on it and then do the same thing the next game because you’re thinking about the last one. Next thing you know, you’re way too far behind and there’s no return from that.”

On if his efforts were wasted …
“Not wasted. There were plays I should’ve made that I didn’t make. I thought everybody did alright. We just had some mental lapses late in the game and we started off sluggish so that didn’t help.”

On the slow start …
“I really couldn’t tell you. It just seems like the energy wasn’t there like normal. It wasn’t there from the jump like we tried to express.”

#22, Alex Poythress, F

On why Kentucky has difficulty with this Arkansas team…
“They play hard. They’re really scrappy. They played a great game hitting all their open shots, got to the foul line a lot. They just played a great game.”

On Arkansas performance tonight…
“Everybody is going to play their best game. We knew that coming here when we were coming into the game that they were fighting for their lives. They just played harder than we did.”

On Calipari saying they got tired…
“No, I don’t feel tired I just feel like I wish we could have had a couple minutes left. Its nothing you can’t fix. You would hope that in the year we would have this stuff down but we have got some time so hopefully we can work it all out.”

Arkansas Head Coach Mike Anderson

Opening statement … 
“What a great ball game. It wasn’t a thing of beauty from a shooting standpoint. There was outstanding defensive play tonight. Neither team wanted to give in to the other team, and it took overtime. If you have watched us play basketball this year you would know that we have played in many games like this. It was good to see us come out on the right side of the ledger. It was a gutty performance by our guys. I think defensively we just locked in. Kentucky is a tremendous team. Willie Cauley-Stein I think was single-handedly keeping Kentucky in the game. Julius (Randle) is going to do what he does. We madeJames Young get in foul trouble and I think that helped. It was a team win, and I think there were some unsung heroes. Kikko Haydar came in the end and made two big free throws to make it a two possession game. Alandise Harris had some big buckets today. Coty Clarke was really good. You don’t win in this particular place unless you do some good things. I think that we did that.”

On the planned to play the Harrison twins… 
“They do a great job of penetrating and going to the basket. We did a good job of making them work and shoot jump shots. I think our guys did a good job of making them take tough shots. They are great at driving and throwing lobs. I think our defense was on the same page. When we had breakdowns someone came and helped out.”

On sweeping Kentucky… 
“Our guys played with a lot of confidence. Coming into this game our guys had already played Kentucky and our guys are familiar with them.  I knew it was going to take an outstanding performance, especially defense. That is all we talk about. We talk about not getting annihilated on the glass and we did that for a period. Fatigue was not a factor and we were ready to get on the loose ball. Kentucky missed some free throws that allowed us to send it into overtime. Defensively we did what we had to do and made plays. It was a big game. Every game is a big game. I have had the opportunity to be in this building quite a few times. Many times we went away and really got smoked. We were pretty good tonight and time ran out on Kentucky. It has been 20 years since Arkansas won a game here. I guess you can look at other teams and its been awhile for them to win here too. We were fortunate and now we have to turn our attention to Georgia.”

On finishing the game strong… 
“You have to have short-term memory. We are down to three games left in the season. We can’t have a backlash on this game. This game is over and there is nothing we can do about it. Our team is playing a Georgia team that beat them in overtime. The game continues to get bigger. You have to come with tremendous effort each and every night. I was proud of our bench. That has really been the strength of our team.”

Arkansas Student-Athletes

#4, Coty Clarke, G

On making all of their free throws … 
“That’s part of capitalizing at the free throw line. We needed those going into the stretch. I think we were perfect from (the free throw line) so that’s a good thing on the road.

On what this says about Arkansas … 
“Staying poised, staying with each other through adversity and everything. We’ll worry about Georgia now before we worry about postseason.

On adjusting to UK driving to the bucket down the stretch … 
“We know that was probably their offense, was to attack, attack. They’re a good rebounding team, so when they miss it, Willie (Cauley-Stein) and Julius (Randle) are there to clean it up and so that was our main focus. When they attack, put a body on them and rebound.”

On Kentucky missing free throws and Arkansas making free throws … 
“I’d say it was for us. They got tired and you could tell when they were going up and missing. We were able to capitalize. For us making our free throws, that’s good and staying perfect at the line. You need that going in against a team like this on the road to maintain. That’s what we were able to do.”

On what he saw in the past possession … 
“I was watching the ball and staying with my man and I saw him drive. My first mindset was that he wasn’t going to pass. So, when he brought it back up, I timed it and was able to get a hand on it.”

#2, Alandise Harris, G

On withstanding the late UK run … 
“We just had to stay poised. We’ve been down, we’ve been up. We just had to make plays to get us to where we needed to be. We aren’t worried about postseason. We’re worried about Georgia on Saturday.”

On containing the Harrison twins … 
“We wanted to keep them out of the lane. They’re good players, you can’t just stop them from being in the lane. You just have to play good D and have good help. If we deny them the ball down low, then we stop them.

On sweeping Kentucky and what it means … 
“It means a lot. Coach (Anderson) just told us that we haven’t done that in 20 years. It’s something like history that nobody has won here in 20 years and we’ve never swept them. It’s kind of like a little history. We are moving on to the next game.”

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.

@RazorbackMBB Quick Hits
➢ Arkansas’ four-game SEC win streak is its longest since 2010.
➢ The six SEC wins are the most over a seven-game span since the same run in 2010.
➢ Arkansas has won three of its last four road games with its only loss being a one-point defeat at
➢ Arkansas has played four overtime games in SEC play and eight games decided by five points or
➢ Arkansas’ win snapped a nine-game losing streak at Rupp Arena and was its victory since Feb. 9,
➢ The Razorbacks have now taken three straight from Kentucky for the first time in program history.
➢ Head coach Mike Anderson is 4-2 vs. Kentucky.
➢ The ranked win is the 88th in program history and the sixth under Anderson.
➢ Arkansas six wins in February are the second-most in the SEC.
➢ During its current four-game win streak, Arkansas has trailed by more than three points for 11
➢ Arkansas held a 37-30 lead at the half and is now 17-2 this season when leading at the break.
➢ Arkansas scored 20+ points off turnovers for the 15th time this season.
➢ At least four players reached double figures for the 15th time this season.
➢ Qualls scored double-digits for a team-best 21st time.
➢ Qualls brought his team-leading dunk total to 29 with his two slams in the first half off his own
➢ Madden has scored double figures in 12 of 15 SEC contests.
➢ Sophomore Anthlon Bell has reached double figures in back-to-back games for the first time since
➢ Arkansas is 9-2 all-time when Bell scores double figures.
➢ Clarke has reached double figures in five of the last six games.
➢ Clarke has led Arkansas on the boards in the last four games and eight times in SEC action.
➢ Harris’ seven rebounds equaled a season-high set in a win over Clemson.

Coach Anderson Postgame Sound
“I thought our defense was the difference tonight. We were relentless all 45 minutes and I thought it wore them down toward the end of overtime. The end of the game was about who had the most left in the tank and I give our guys a lot of credit to battle through fatigue to make every free throw. Winning against Kentucky and especially in this arena is a tall task and tonight we got it done.”

Up Next
The Razorbacks will return home to an already sold out Bud Walton Arena on Saturday when it hosts third place Georgia at 3 p.m. The game will be televised by SEC TV while a list of affiliates that will carry the game will be available leading up to the game. Saturday is the first of two straight games to close out the regular season home schedule, as Ole Miss will visit on Wednesday, March 5.

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