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No. 6 Kentucky pulls away from Arkansas 97-71


By Darrell Bird, The Sports Xchange

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Freshman guard De'Aaron Fox scored a career-high 27 points and No. 6 Kentucky rolled to a 97-71 victory over Arkansas on Saturday night at Rupp Arena.
"De'Aaron Fox is ridiculous," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "He's been doing extra work. He's been coming to practice early, not by choice, and he has really been working and it showed in the game.
"I said to the guys, 'What do you want to say to him? Do this every night, man. Play this way. This is who you are.'"
Senior forward Derek Willis equaled his season high with 15 points for the Wildcats (13-2, 3-0 SEC). Willis made his first five shots from the field, including three 3-pointers.
Three other players scored in double figures for Kentucky. Sophomore guard Isaiah Briscoe finished with 15 points, freshman guard Malik Monk with 12 and freshman foward Bam Adebayo with 11.
Junior guard Daryl Macon led Arkansas (12-3, 1-2) with 15 points and senior forward Moses Kingsley and junior guard Jaylen Barford each had 14. All of Barford's points came in the first half.
The long standing rivalry saw more than a few heated moments, topped by a double technical against Barford and Fox early in the second half.
On the play, Briscoe drew a charge against Barford. As Barford returned to the court, he stepped on the leg of Briscoe, who was still laying on the floor. Fox immediately intervened and officials had to separate players.
"Let me say this, my team won't be bullied. It's not that kind of team," Calipari said. "The issue is, it gets you more focused and sharper and more disciplined. You're not going to bully us into a loss. Think about who's on this team. They're going to fight back.
"But these are all teaching moments. Games are going to get heated, they're going to get testy. We do not respond. These kids are so young that their first reaction is if they get bumped or pushed they want to push back. You can't. You put your arms up and walk away. It was a great lesson."
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said he didn't see what happened but wasn't happy since Barford ended up with three fouls.
"It caused the guy who was playing the best on our basketball team to be in foul trouble because they called a technical foul," Anderson said. "We've got a hell of a game going on and the kid was playing well.
"Obviously, I'm biased and I don't agree with the call. But it is what it is and that had nothing to do with the outcome of the game."
Kentucky blew open the game with an 8-0 run to build its first 20-point lead at 82-62 with 6:32 remaining. At that point, the Wildcats had outscored the Razorbacks 41-24 in the second half.
Kentucky, which scored 56 points in the second half, shot 53.3 percent from the field (32 of 60) for the game and outrebounded Arkansas 43-30.
Arkansas shot 40.3 percent from the floor and 26.7 percent from 3-point range.
Kentucky led 41-38 at halftime.
A 12-0 run built the Wildcats' lead to 32-24 with just over four minutes to play in the opening half -- their biggest lead at that point -- as Arkansas missed seven straight shots from the floor.
The Kentucky spurt came on the heels of an 8-0 Arkansas rally during which the Razorbacks built a three-point advantage while forcing three Wildcats turnovers in two minutes.
Fox led Kentucky in scoring in the first half with 11 points. Willis added eight and Briscoe seven.
The Wildcats shot 50 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes but only 30 percent from 3-point range.
Barford topped Arkansas with 14 points and Kingsley added seven. The Razorbacks shot 40.6 percent from the floor but only 28.6 percent from beyond the 3-point line.
-- F Bam Adebayo entered Saturday night with 43 dunks in 14 games, an average of 3.07 per game. Anthony Davis owns the record during John Calipari's eight seasons with 92 in 40 games, an average of 2.3 per game.
-- Kentucky averages 94.0 points per game, second best in the nation.
-- G Malik Monk's 22.6-point average makes him the top scoring freshman in the country.


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