|Kentucky's Anthony Davis shoots over Arkansas' Mardracus Wade (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lexington, Ky., Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/James Crisp)|
Arkansas falls to No. 2 Kentucky 86-63
LEXINGTON, Ky.—Arkansas wanted to run with No. 2 Kentucky. The Razorbacks could never run away from Anthony Davis.
The freshman forward scored a career-high 27 points and blocked seven shots to set a school season record in No. 2 Kentucky's 86-63 victory over Arkansas on Tuesday night.
"Their size was a big problem for us tonight, especially with Anthony Davis," Razorbacks coach Mike Anderson said. "He is a difference maker. No matter how we tried to mount an attack, I thought they did a good job answering."
The Wildcats (18-1, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) won their 10th straight overall and extended the nation's longest home winning streak to 46 games, including 45 straight at Rupp Arena.
Arkansas hasn't won in four road games this season and struggled against the nation's second-best defense by field goal percentage despite 12 points from Mardracus Wade and 10 points apiece from Marvell Waithe, Rashad Madden and B.J. Young.
Still, they couldn't avoid Davis, who had 14 rebounds, as the Wildcats jumped on the Razorbacks (13-5, 2-2) from the start.
"We tried to put two or three bodies on him and he was getting around us," Wade said. "He played really strong and athletic. He just did what he's supposed to do to help his team win tonight."
The Razorbacks never got closer than 14 points on the first basket of the second half.
Anderson said his team would try to run against Kentucky, a strategy most teams have tried to stay away from against the athletic Wildcats.
It didn't work as Davis scored in bunches and the rest of the Wildcats chipped in.
"They did a good job in their preparation and I told the team I'll take the blame for that," Anderson said. "We were playing one of the better teams in the country and they are playing some outstanding basketball. As we've seen throughout the course of conference play, everyone plays pretty good at home."
Arkansas beat the Wildcats in overtime last season in Fayetteville, but these Wildcats reloaded with Davis and fellow freshmen Marquis Teague, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kyle Wiltjer. Arkansas remained winless in Lexington since the 1994 title team won here.
Doron Lamb scored 14 points, Terrence Jones 13, Darius Miller 11 and Kidd-Gilchrist 10 for Kentucky, which got nine assists from Teague.
In one sequence, Miller grabbed an offensive rebound and slashed across the paint, flipping a contested reverse layup. Then, Jones started a break by swatting Wade's attempt that Lamb finished with a floater that made it 19-6.
Davis matched the school record for blocks when he rejected Rickey Scott's layup off the glass with 8:02 left in the first half, matching the 83 that Turpin set in 1982-83 in 31 games and Riddick tied in 34 games in 1993-94. Davis set the record a little over 3 minutes later when he turned away Young's layup with Kentucky leading 28-12.
Kentucky took its first 20-point lead when Lamb hit a 3 with 3:22 left in the half. Davis blocked another layup by Young with 5 seconds left and swatted Wade's attempt at the buzzer as the Wildcats took a 37-21 lead.
When Arkansas cut it to 50-35 with 14:48 left, Kidd-Gilchrist threw an alley-oop pass to Davis, Jones blocked freshman Devonta Abron's shot and Teague fed Kidd-Gilchrist in the paint for another slam as part of a 13-2 run that put the game away before the midway point of the second half.
Davis finished 10 of 12 from the field, his best game with at least 10 attempts of his 19-game career and went 7 for 8 from the free throw line. He got a standing ovation with 4:23 left with his seventh and final block, an emphatic swat of Julysses Nobles' shot into the front row.
"Looking at him on TV he's really tall and lanky and you don't think he'd be that physical, but actually that guy is pretty physical," Wade said. "He gets in there, he's relentless. You hit him one time and he's just going to go back into you again."