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January 15, 2014

Cats done in by last-second dunk at Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Kentucky ran into an Arkansas team with its back against the wall Tuesday night in Fayetteville.

And in a game marked by big plays, the Razorbacks made the last one.

Michael Qualls slammed home a Rashad Madden miss with 0.2 seconds remaining in overtime as Arkansas stunned No. 13 Kentucky 87-85 before a Bud Walton Arena crowd of 18,386.

"Let's give Arkansas credit," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "They had a chance to fold and they didn't. They played well."

The Razorbacks (12-4, 1-2) led by two at intermission in a back-and-forth first half that saw 28 fouls called and 38 free throws shot.

Both Aaron Harrison and Willie Cauley-Stein got in foul trouble early for Kentucky (12-4, 2-1), and Cauley-Stein failed to score until the opening minutes of the second half.

He eventually fouled out, leaving Julius Randle to man the paint in the extra period.

James Young led all scorers with 23 points, including sinking a three-pointer with 9 seconds to play in overtime that tied the game at 85-85.

Young missed a three-pointer that Alex Poythress rebounded to set up the game-tying trey.

"It was set up for me," Young said. "Luckily, I just hit the second one."

Randle was a workhorse all night for the Wildcats, finishing with a 20 points and 14 rebounds while absorbing blow after blow from Arkansas defenders.

"Julius, that's why he gets cramps, because he gets wacked so hard," Calipari said. "It's hard. He's sumo wrestling and running. It's hard. That's a new sport. He'd be a gold medalist in that sport."

The two teams combined to shoot 81 free throws as 60 fouls were whistled, although neither team was particularly effective at converting.

"We were beating the crap out of each other," Calipari said. "It was hand-to-hand combat, hands up, chest to guy, try to knock him over with your chest. That's how the game was played, so we both played that way."

Madden and Qualls each tied for the Arkansas team high with 18 points, with Qualls' emphatic flush at the end serving as the highlight.

"It was just my fault," Young said. "I stopped playing at the last second. Thought it was just going to bounce out and the time was going to run out. I just stopped playing at the last second."

Randle said Kentucky's failure to grab the rebound was "a team effort."

It was a rare shortcoming on the glass for UK, which enjoyed a healthy 50-32 advantage in rebounding, but the Wildcats turned the ball over 17 times to the Razorbacks' six.

"I'm proud of my team that they didn't quit; they kept playing," Calipari said. "We executed (the play) that gives us a chance when we went down three. Stuff that we've worked on, we did, we got the shot we wanted. Just, the last shot, the kid watched. My guy watched. The guy ran by him and dunked it."

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