Arkansas ran into the best team in the nation Saturday and there was no doubt about it.
No. 2 Kentucky never trailed in a 101-70 win over Arkansas at Rupp Arena. With a pair of losses from top-ranked Texas this week, the Wildcats will be the new No. 1 team when the polls are released Sunday.
"We talked about coming out and not getting overwhelmed," Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. "We got behind 10-0 and that didn't happen.
"I felt like we didn't compete well enough with the situation and atmosphere we didn't handle well. On top of the Kentucky is the No. 1 team in the country and 19-0."
The Wildcats led 57-27 at halftime and by as many as 46 points in the second half. The 31-point loss was Arkansas' largest ever in SEC play.
"I thought in the second half we could have folded our tent and went home," Pelphrey said. "When you take the first four minutes of the second half out we scored more than they did and probably won the half. Our team continued to compete. We didn't play our best today but we give Kentucky credit for that. Now it's time to get focused on our next one."
The Wildcats were led with 18 points from Darius Summers and 16 points from freshmen John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, who added 14 rebounds.
"He was tremendous," Pelphrey said of Cousins. "You look at his stats for this season and his numbers come at only about 19 minutes a game, so he was impressive."
Courtney Fortson led Arkansas with 21 points while Rotnei Clarke added 13. Senior center Mike Washington scored 11 points, but battled foul trouble throughout the contest, fouling out with 11:14 to go in the second half.
Washington and the Razorbacks were powerless against a relentless Kentucky defense, though. The Wildcats forced Arkansas into 30.6 percent shooting from the floor and blocked nine shots.
"It was really, really tough for us today especially around the basket," Pelphrey said. "The first half we missed some that didn't get blocked and some really good opportunities that did get blocked."
It was Arkansas' second consecutive loss after falling to Florida less than 48 hours earlier. Pelphrey said he didn't think the quick-turnaround contributed to the problems.
"I don't think fatigue was our problem. I think Kentucky was our problem today," Pelphrey said. "They were obviously ready to go and that's a very good basketball team."
No. 2 Kentucky 101, Arkansas 70
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