Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll. Murphy was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
In the Lane:
Anderson zips lips on officials
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson reacts to a call during the second half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019. Kentucky won 70-66. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- University of Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson was determined not to let his words get him in trouble after his team's 70-66 loss at No. 4 Kentucky on Tuesday.
The final seconds of the game featured a pair of lengthy officials reviews and both of them went in the Wildcats' favor.
Leading 68-66 and inbounding the ball after an intentionally missed free throw by Jalen Harris with 3.2 seconds left, Kentucky inbound passer Ashton Hagans appeared to shuffle his feet while throwing to guard Keldon Johnson. Arkansas guard Mason Jones and Johnson arrived at the inbound spot together, and after a quick tussle the ball went out of bounds.
Baseline official Brian O'Connell ruled possession to Kentucky, and a replay review did not overturn the call.
When the Wildcats threw another inbounds pass, Kentucky guard Tyler Herro appeared to shove an Arkansas defender.
"I don't want to get in trouble," Anderson said when asked about the two inbound plays. "I'll say this: They both went against us. I can't talk about officiating."
Anderson brought up a statistic he had pointed out moments earlier: "Thirty-two free throws."
Arkansas' Isaiah Joe said he thought Herro pushed off on the final inbounds pass, and Razorbacks' guard Desi Sills said he thought Hagans traveled with the prior inbounds pass.
Kentucky owned a 40-27 rebounding advantage. It was the 13th consecutive SEC opponent who has owned the rebounding edge over Arkansas.
Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said the most tell-tale statistic from the game was Kentucky's free-throw advantage.
The Wildcats were 22 of 32 from the line for 68.8 percent. Arkansas made 10 of 15 free throws (66.7 percent).
"I would tell you right now on the season, all season, because we track it ... I want you to hear this folks ... we make way more [free throws] than the other team shoots," Kentucky Coach John Calipari said. "If it was officiating, they've been doing it all year."
Guard Mason Jones set up Daniel Gafford for one of the Hogs' top plays of the game.
Jones' dribble penetration into the paint drew Gafford's defender. Jones deftly shuffled a pass from near the right block over to Gafford, who made a big drawback for a two-handed slam.
The starters for Arkansas were center Daniel Gafford, and guards Isaiah Joe and Jalen Harris. Those three have started all 28 games this season. Desi Sills and forward Gabe Osabuohien also started Tuesday.
It was the second consecutive start for Sills and Osabuohien.
Arkansas and Kentucky feature two of the youngest rosters in the country. The Razorbacks started two freshmen and three sophomores while Kentucky opened with four freshmen -- Ashton Hagans, Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson and EJ Montgomery -- and sophomore PJ Washington.
Kentucky increased its lead in the all-time series to 32-11, including 15-3 in games played in Lexington, Ky.
The Wildcats have won seven consecutive games, dating to a 71-67 Arkansas victory in overtime at Rupp Arena on Feb. 27, 2014. The Razorbacks made 16 of 16 free throws in that game, while Kentucky hit 12 of 22.
Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson is now 4-9 versus the Wildcats, and John Calipari is 12-6 against the Razorbacks.
Kentucky's John Calipari passed Joe B. Hall to reach second on the school's all-time wins list, and Tuesday's victory took his total to 299 with the Wildcats.
Calipari will shoot for win No. 300 at Kentucky on Saturday against No. 7 Tennessee. Adolph Rupp is the leader at Kentucky with 876 wins from 1930 through 1972.
Calipari's record through 366 games at Kentucky (298-68) trailed Rupp by only two wins (300-66).
The Razorbacks have made at least one three-point bucket in 1,005 consecutive games.
Freshman Isaiah Joe extended the streak with a three-pointer from the right wing on a pass from Gabe Osabuohien for Arkansas' first basket at the 17:47 mark.
Arkansas' Daniel Gafford went to the bench at the 14:18 mark with his second foul with two points and no rebounds.
The Razorbacks trailed 11-8 after his second foul, but they got hot quickly. Arkansas went on a 12-1 run over the next 3:47 to seize a 20-12 lead. Gafford returned later in the half and added four more points, including a lay-in from Mason Jones with two seconds left in the half for a 39-28 Arkansas lead.
• Arkansas fell to a .500 record (14-14) for the first time since being 1-1 with an 81-58 victory over California-Davis on Nov. 12.
• Kentucky is now 995-280 in SEC play.
• Former UK star Kenny "Sky" Walker was introduced to the crowd on the court during the second half.
Sports on 02/27/2019
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