Arkansas basketball notebook: Battle becomes 2nd Razorback to score 30 back-to-back-to-back

Kentucky's Zvonimir Ivisic (44) and Rob Dillingham, middle, defend Arkansas' Khalif Battle, right, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 111-102.(AP Photo/James Crisp)

It took University of Arkansas guard Khalif Battle until midway through the first half of Saturday’s game at Kentucky to score.

But once Battle got going, the Wildcats struggled to slow him down in a game No. 16 Kentucky won 111-102 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky.

Battle, who finished with 34 points, didn’t score until hitting a layup with 10:40 left in the first half. He dribbled the ball up court, saw the back of the Kentucky defense trying to get aligned, blew past his man and converted a layup to give the Razorbacks a 24-22 lead.

Later, Battle did the same thing, rebounding a missed Tre Mitchell layup and going all the way to score in traffic near the rim for a 39-38 Arkansas lead.

The 6-5 senior has scored 112 points in the last three games. He scored 42 against Missouri and 36 against Vanderbilt.

Battle, who on Saturday also had 8 rebounds and 2 steals in 39 minutes, became the second Razorback to score 30 or points in three consecutive games.

Mason Jones was the first to do it in 2020 when he scored 34 points against South Carolina, 30 against Alabama and 40 against Auburn.

Battle, who missed his first shot against Kentucky, finished 8 of 16 from the field, including 1 of 4 on three-pointers, and hit 17 of 18 free throws.

“He did a great job attacking the rim,” Razorbacks Coach Eric Musselman said.

In the last three games Battle has combined to hit 28 of 48 field goal attempts and 45 of 49 free throws.

“I just see his confidence,” said Arkansas junior guard Tramon Mark, who scored 23 points on Saturday. “I just see him being more aggressive when he drives the lane. He shot 18 free throws.

“I just see him being aggressive and confident and he’ll keep getting those calls and keep knocking down free throws, knocking down shots. He played good.”

T party

There were five technicals called in Saturday’s game with three on Arkansas and two on Kentucky.

Razorbacks Coach Eric Musselman drew the first technical with 5:45 left in the first half after a dunk by Adou Thiero tied the game 36-36.

Therio’s dunk came one second after Ugonna Onyenso plowed through Tramon Mark to get an offensive rebound, lost his footing and fell to the court. He passed to Thiero for the uncontested dunk and Musselman immediately began giving the rotating arms signal for a traveling call and charging toward official Jeb Hartness, who assessed the technical.

According to the CBS telecast, officials determined Onyenso didn’t travel because he hadn’t yet controlled the ball.

Kentucky guard Antonio Reeves hit 1 of 2 free throws resulting from the technical call.

It was the sixth technical called on Musselman this season and 21st he has drawn in his five seasons at Arkansas, according to

Razorbacks forward Trevon Brazile and Wildcats forward Aaron Bradshaw were called for double technicals with 12:28 left when they exchanged words running down the court.

Arkansas guard Davonte “Devo” Davis and Kentucky guard Rob Dillington also were called for double technicals with 45 seconds left.

Davis’ technical was his eighth in four seasons, per

The five technicals were the second-highest in an Arkansas game this year, trailing the six in Oklahoma’s 79-70 win in Tulsa on Dec. 9, including two on Musselman that resulted in his ejection.

Other technicals in that game were on Arkansas’ Chandler Lawson and three Oklahoma players — Jalon Moore, Otega Oweh and Rivaldo Soares.

Razorbacks senior Makhi Mitchell was mistakenly listed in the box score against Kentucky for having a technical. He was called for a Flagrant 1 foul in the second half for elbowing Bradshaw in the head, not a technical.

Almost 3-0

If Arkansas had been able to hang on and upset Kentucky after building a nine-point lead in the second half, Eric Musselman would have become the first visiting coach to win his first three games at Rupp Arena since it opened for the 1976-77 season.

Musselman is one of three visiting coaches to win his first two games at Rupp Arena, along with Nolan Richardson and Dennis Felton.

Richardson was the first visiting coach to start 2-0 in Rupp Arena when his Razorbacks won 105-88 in 1992 in their first season in the SEC and beat the Wildcats on the road again 90-82 in 1994 en route to winning the national championship.

Felton started 2-0 as a visiting coach in Rupp Arena when Western Kentucky won there 64-52 in the 2001-02 season and his first Georgia team won 65-57 in 2003-04.

Musselman’s Razorbacks won 81-80 at Kentucky in 2021 and 88-73 last season.

Make it 16

Arkansas used its 16th different starting lineup with forward Trevon Brazile back in the lineup and guard Davonte “Devo” Davis playing off the bench.

Brazile made his 19th start of the season, but first in his third game back after missing seven games because of knee soreness.

Brazile scored 6 of Arkansas’ first 12 points, but foul trouble limited him to 15 minutes. He had 8 points, 2 rebounds and 1 block before fouling out with 3:18 left.

Joining Brazile in the starting lineup were Khalif Battle, Tramon Mark, El Ellis and Chandler Lawson.

Graham stays home

Arkansas senior Jalen Graham was healthy enough to play after missing the previous four games recovering from a shoulder injury, but he didn’t make the trip to Lexington in order to work on academics, according to a UA news release.

Nice replacement

When Arkansas forward Makhi Mitchell was pushed from behind by Kentucky’s Tre Mitchell — resulting in a foul call — and took a hard fall to the court, trainer Matt Townsend came out to check on him.

According to the CBS telecast, because a trainer checked on Makhi Mitchell, he had to leave the game and Wildcats Coach John Calipari had the choice of which Razorback in the game would attempt two free throws.

Calipari chose guard Davonte “Devo” Davis, who hit both free throws to give Arkansas a 90-87 lead with 6:22 left.

Change it

A made field goal by Arkansas guard Tramon Mark at the 6:14 mark of the first half, originally ruled a two-pointer, was reviewed during the media timeout.

The officiating crew corrected its earlier ruling and awarded Mark a three-pointer, giving the Razorbacks a 40-38 lead at the 3:23 mark.


Kentucky 7-2 freshman Zvonimir Ivisic, who was scoreless playing three minutes in the Wildcats’ 63-57 victory at Walton Arena earlier in the season, played a more integral role on Saturday in his team’s front-court mix of three 7-footers.

Ivisic had 12 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks in 20 minutes.

Muss vs. Cal

Arkansas Coach Eric Musselman dropped to 3-4 in his head-to-head meetings against Kentucky Coach John Calipari.