The Kentucky Wildcats staged a ferocious second-half comeback to win 82-74 in today's SEC action in Fayetteville. Kentucky was led by junior Ramel Bradley's 24 points, 22 of those coming in the second half.
A Sonny Weems jumper just over three minutes into the second half gave Arkansas a 45-31. Moments later a Ramel Bradley three-point field goal trimmed the lead to eleven and set the Cats on the path for a big comeback. Over the next eight minutes a staunch defensive effort and much improved shooting on the offensive end allowed Kentucky to trim the lead until they took a 54-53 lead on a layup by Jodie Meeks.
Arkansas responded with a post move by Darian Townes to reclaim the lead, which was promptly countered by Randolph Morris netting a deuce of his own to reclaim the lead for the Cats. The Cats held serve and began extending the lead when Jodie Meeks nailed a three-pointer after Bradley and Perry had missed point blank attempts in the lane. Following the miss of a Gary Ervin rushed three with the shot clock expiring Morris hit a jumper to give the Cats a 61-55 lead.
The closest Arkansas would get for the remainder of the game was five, after back-to-back baskets by Stefan Welsh, who hit a three, and Townes trimmed an eight-point Wildcat lead to three, 63-60. The Cats answered with a long three from Bradley, and a breakaway dunk by Meeks off a steal to stretch the lead back to eight.
Kentucky, on the strength of the free throw shooting prowess of Bradley and Meeks, hit eleven of thirteen from the charity stripe down the stretch to preserve the victory.
The first twenty-three minutes of the game was marked by runs by each team. Arkansas jumped out to an early 10-5 lead. Kentucky answered with a run that gave them a 26-18 lead with just over five minutes remaining in the half. Arkansas went on a 27-3 run over the close of the half and the opening minutes of the second half to establish the 45-31 point lead, and setup the Kentucky comeback.
Joining Bradley in scoring double digits were Jodie Meeks with 15, Joe Crawford with 13 and Randolph Morris with 14. Arkansas was led by freshman guard Patrick Beverly, who scored a game high 25 points. Joining Beverly in double digits were Sonny Weems, who scored 14, and Steven Hill and Welsh, who each scored 13.
Kentucky battled to hold a slim margin on the boards against the taller Hogs, 28-27.
The win lifts Kentucky to 17-5 on the season, and 6-2 in the SEC at the midway point of league play.
Cats storm back to defeat Arkansas, 82-74
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