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Seven things you need to know from No. 16 Kentucky’s wild 111-102 win over Arkansas

Seven things you need to know from No. 16 Kentucky’s wild 111-102 win over Arkansas in SEC men’s basketball at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center:

1. In a game of crazy runs, UK ran last. Up 53-48 at halftime, Kentucky began the second half with a 7-2 spurt to take a 60-50 lead with 18:12 left.

Yet with a chance to put Arkansas away, the Cats instead had the kind of turnover and defensive lapse-filled drought that has repeatedly gotten UK in trouble.

As a result, Arkansas went on 12-1 run to take a 62-61 lead.

UK then spurted out to a 70-64 advantage, only to watch Arkansas go on a 22-7 rampage to lead 86-77 with 8:10 left.

Alas, thanks largely to Rob Dillingham, Kentucky would have the final and decisive run.

Dillingham scored 11 of his 15 points in the final 6:33 to spark a 34-16 UK burst in the final 8:26 of the game to pull out the victory.

The 6-foot-2, 176-pound Dillingham also assisted on two alley-oop dunks, one to Justin Edwards and one to Zvonimir Ivisic, on set plays out of timeouts, to help UK pull away late.

2. “Camden Cats” play big. In a frenetic, up-and-down affair, Kentucky displayed its deep stock of talent. The Wildcats put seven players in double figures.

Freshmen and former Camden (N.J.) High School teammates D.J. Wagner and Aaron Bradshaw both made meaningful contributions for UK.

Wagner, appearing to fully shake off the effects of an ankle injury that sidelined him earlier this season, had 19 points and hit 6 of 7 shots, 4 of 5 3-pointers and 3 of 4 foul shots.

Bradshaw, the 7-foot-1, 226-pound freshman, had 15 points and five rebounds in only 12 minutes of game action.

Obviously, if UK can get that level of production from Wagner and Bradshaw, the Wildcats have a chance to reach a different level.

Kentucky forward Aaron Bradshaw (2) celebrates scoring and drawing a foul against Arkansas. Bradshaw delivered 15 points and five rebounds in 12 minutes of action.
Kentucky forward Aaron Bradshaw (2) celebrates scoring and drawing a foul against Arkansas. Bradshaw delivered 15 points and five rebounds in 12 minutes of action.

3. Cats finally at full strength. After missing four games due to a shoulder injury suffered against Mississippi, Kentucky super-senior forward Tre Mitchell returned against the Razorbacks.

The 6-foot-9, 231-pound Mitchell checked in with 16:09 left in the first half along with Reed Sheppard, Rob Dillingham and Zvonimir Ivisic. The game immediately checked Mitchell’s health, as he went to the floor in a battle for a loose ball, then fell hard to the floor after being fouled by Makhi Mitchell of Arkansas with 12:36 left.

The two free throws Tre Mitchell hit after the foul call were his only points of the first half. In 11 minutes of first-half playing time, Mitchell also had two rebounds and an assist. At plus-11, Mitchell was UK’s first-half leader on the plus/minus chart.

Overall, Mitchell showed some rust from having been sidelined so long. He finished the game 0-for-5, 0-for-3 on treys and had two points and three boards in 16 minutes.

4. Sheppard’s encore. UK freshman guard Reed Sheppard entered Saturday’s contest off his personal tour de force Tuesday night in Kentucky’s 91-89 win at Mississippi State.

In addition to hitting the game-winning shot on a runner with half a second left, the 6-foot-3, 187-pound North Laurel High School product scored a career-high 32 points. In Starkville, Sheppard went 11-for-14 on field-goal tries, 4-for-7 on treys and hit all six of his foul shots. He also had five rebounds, seven assists, two steals and two blocks.

On Saturday afternoon at Rupp Arena, Sheppard had a quieter showing. He finished with 10 points on 3-for-7 shooting, including 2 of 4 treys, and had five assists.

Sheppard had no steals in the game, so he still has 76 thefts on the season. That leaves Sheppard behind Rajon Rondo (87 in 2004-05) and Wayne Turner (79 in 1996-97) on the single-season UK steals chart.

5. Reeves report. For the fifth straight game, Kentucky super-senior guard Antonio Reeves went over 20 points. Reeves had 22 points Saturday, making 8 of 10 shots, 1 of 2 3-pointers and 5 of 6 free throws. In his last three games versus Arkansas, Reeves has scored 37, 24 and 22 points.

Reeves now has 1,068 points for his two-year UK career, and moved past Erik Daniels (1,053 career points), Jamaal Magloire (1,064) and Terrence Jones (1,064) and into 53rd place on the all-time Kentucky Wildcats career scoring list.

Immediately ahead of Reeves on that list are now No. 52 Dirk Minniefield (1,069) and No. 51 Rex Chapman (1,073).

Among players who only played two seasons for UK, Reeves moved past Terrence Jones into fourth behind No. 3 Rex Chapman (1,073), No. 2. Oscar Tshiebwe (1,117) and No. 1 Bill Spivey (1,213).

6. Calipari moves up on SEC all-time wins list. The Kentucky victory was John Calipari’s 196th win in a Southeastern Conference game. That moves him past C.M. Newton (195) for fourth place all-time on the SEC career wins list.

Newton, the UK athletics director from 1989-2000, went 131-85 in SEC games as Alabama coach from 1969 through 1980. He then went 64-80 in league contests as Vanderbilt head man from 1982 through 1989.

Ranking ahead of Calipari (196-65) on the all-time SEC wins list are: 1. Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp (397-75 from 1933 through 1972), 2. LSU’s Dale Brown (238-200 from 1973-1997) and Florida’s Billy Donovan (200-110 1997 through 2015).

Kentucky head coach John Calipari calls to a referee after a foul was called on his team during Saturday’s game against Arkansas. Calipari moved into fourth place on the all-time SEC wins list with his 196th.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari calls to a referee after a foul was called on his team during Saturday’s game against Arkansas. Calipari moved into fourth place on the all-time SEC wins list with his 196th.

7. “Muss bus” running in reverse. In his third game coaching against Kentucky at Rupp Arena, Arkansas head man Eric Musselman lost for the first time.

After starting his Razorbacks coaching career 3-1 against UK, Musselman has now lost three straight against the Wildcats.

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Box score from No. 16 Kentucky basketball’s 111-102 SEC win over Arkansas

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