FAYETTEVILLE - This time a John Pelphrey-coached team finished and did so in style.
Rotnei Clarke had 26 points, Marshawn Powell season-highs of 22 points and 10 rebounds, and senior Marcus Britt some huge plays in overtime as Arkansas upset No. 22 Kentucky 77-76 Wednesday night at Bud Walton Arena.
In front of a season-high crowd of 14,073 fans that included former Razorbacks and Wildcats head coach Eddie Sutton, Arkansas (17-10, 5-6) ended a 10-game losing streak in the series.
"I can't really tell you what it was about us that we did great, but compete," Arkansas coach and former Kentucky player John Pelphrey said. "I thought we hung in there, competed and made some unbelievable extra effort plays."
Jeff Peterson's steal with 19 seconds left in overtime led to Britt's game-winning lay-up on the other end of the floor.
"You have to beat Kentucky," Pelphrey said. "They are not going to give it to you. I am proud of our guys for their resiliency, their toughness, the willingness to throw their hearts on the line."
Pelphrey was quick to give the crowd credit.
"I thought that our fans were unbelievable," Pelphrey said. "People ask me coming into the game how are we going to get this done? I said I don't know, but I believe we can. I just believe that we can. There is a spirit among this team, among this state. These fans care about this school and this logo. We just needed a little magic to happen.
Julysess Nobles added 10 points and Delvon Johnson six points, seven rebounds and two blocks in a 34-minute effort while batting through the pain of a hip-pointer.
Johnson was in the training room at 5:30 a.m. to get treatment to play on Saturday night.
"They wanted it worse than we wanted it," Kentucky head coach John Calipari said. "Arkansas deserved to win the game. They played with more aggressiveness. They started the game better. They ended the half better. They deserved to win the game."
The Razorbacks – who had lost four of their last six SEC games – survived numerous shots by the Wildcats (19-8, 7-6) at the end of regulation and overtime to get the win.
Freshman point guard Brandon Knight (26 points, eight rebounds, five assists) had a 3-point attempt at the overtime buzzer, which was the final chance for Kentucky to notch what would have been its second win in seven league road games this season.
"Any time your team is up against it like this team (Arkansas) was, to come out and play the way they did, it says a lot about John as a coach," Calipari said. "They are fighting for him, they are playing for him."
Knight was on 8-of-23 shooting from the field, 1-of-8 from 3-point range and 9-of-9 from the line while playing 43 minutes.
"Those last couple of shots are normally ones he would make," Calipari said while acknowledging that Knight was tired.
Pelphrey was obviously pleased - and thankful - that Knight's shots didn't go down.
"I know that (Knight) had a chance to line the ball up there a little in the corner at the end of regulation and the Good Lord was watching over us," Pelphrey said. "He is not missing that very often. But that is why it is a game."
DeAndre Liggins add and Darius Miller added 13 points each for Kentucky while senior center Josh Harrellson had 12 points and 14 rebounds and Terrence Jones 10 points and eight rebounds.
It was a far cry from Kentucky's 101-70 humbling of Arkansas last season in Rupp Arena.
"I thought they came out and played great," Harrellson said. "I think we played pretty good and they came out and played with us the whole game. Down the stretch I thought we had them worn down, but they just found energy and fought back. They came up with the victory tonight and they are a better team than most people think."
Britt was also the defender on Knight's final shot that went awry.
Calipari said the Wildcats missed an opportunity with 1.8 seconds left although his recollection of the last play wasn't backed up by video.
"Josh was wide open right there on the block," Calipari said. "They all ran to Brandon. What you are looking at is the guy at the rim. the guy at the corner or the guy on the block. We kind of threw it to the wrong guy, but that is not what cost us the game. What cost us the game was the three offensive rebounds when we were up two."
Nobles' 3-pointer with 1:57 left in the extra time gave Arkansas a 75-74, but Jones' short jumper on the other end with 1:22 showing gave the visitors the lead back.
Powell missed a shot with 47 seconds left, but Britt's steal countered that miscue.
Clarke was 6-of-16 from the field and Powell 9-of-19 as Arkansas shot 38.4 percent from the field, hit 7-of-19 3-pointers and connected on 14-of-18 free throws.
Clarke hit seven consecutive free throws - two on a technical on Liggins - to lift his team from a 43-37 deficit to a 44-43 lead.
He also had a four-point play - a 3-pointer and ensuing free throw when fouled by Liggins - that pushed his team ahead 64-61 with 3:42 left.
"He's good," Calipari said. "He played hard and shot a lot of free throws (10-of-11). He got himself to the line.
"I thought Powell just killed us. Powell out-played the guy (Jones) playing him. He out-toughed him, he out-rebounded him, he just went right at them. He wasn't afraid of him and it was a toughness thing."
Pelphrey, whose team had 22 offensive rebounds on a night when it was out-rebounded 46-43, agreed it was a great effort by Powell.
"I thought it was great," Pelphrey said. "I thought he was determined to really be physical scoring the ball
"He had a resolve. I thought he did a good job of being resilient and being persistent."
Kentucky hit just 42.3 percent of its shots from the field, 3-of-19 from behind the 3-point arc and 13-of-15 from the charity stripe.
Nobles' misfired early in the Razorbacks' final possession in regulation, but ended up with the ball again and cashed a lay-up in to tie it 70-70 with 32.7 seconds left.
Kentucky had three shots in the final 15 seconds to win it, but all came up empty.
Arkansas will travel to Auburn (9-18, 2-11) on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
Alabama clinched the SEC Western Division title outright on Wednesday night with a 51-49 win over Auburn.
The Razorbacks are now in a second-place tie in the SEC West with Mississippi State (14-13, 6-7), who visits Arkansas next Wednesday night.
The second-place finisher in the West gets a bye in the opening round of the SEC Tournament.
"At midnight it is over with and we have got to get ourselves ready for the next one," Pelphrey said. "It is all a one-game season right now. The challenge for our guys is to to take this on the road and do it every single night."
Marcus Britt puts in the game winning shot on a fast break with 16.2 seconds left.
John Pelphrey applauds after the victory over Kentucky.
Marshawn Powell fights for room to get off a shot against the Wildcats.
Rotnei Clarke scored 26 against Kentucky.
Clarke said he was more in an attack mode.
Delvon Johnson dunks and draws a foul.
Photos by Marc F. Henning