No. 10 Kentucky holds off Arkansas after Calipari ejection

Arkansas guard Mason Jones (15)pulls up to shoot over Kentucky defenders Nick Richards (4) and Ashton Hagans (0) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Nick Richards and No. 10 Kentucky could have wilted after coach John Calipari was ejected in the second half.

They had another idea.

Richards had 17 points and nine rebounds, and the 10th-ranked Wildcats held off Arkansas for a 73-66 victory Saturday.

Kentucky (13-4, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) had five players score in double figures. Ashton Hagans had 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and Immanuel Quickley finished with 13 points and 10 boards.

Mason Jones scored 19 points for Arkansas (14-3, 3-2), which has dropped nine straight in the series. Jimmy Whitt Jr. added 14 points.

The game was tied at 44 with 8:19 left when Calipari became upset after forward EJ Montgomery was whistled for an offensive foul for an illegal screen. He received two technical fouls as the sellout crowd at Bud Walton Arena cheered wildly.

“I think it happened so fast we couldn’t really react to it,” assistant coach Kenny Payne said when asked about getting between Calipari and the officials. “Unfortunate for me especially, sitting there having to coach the game in the end in a critical point in the game where it’s turning in their favor. But these kids are resilient.”

Jones then made three free throws to give the Razorbacks their first lead since the opening minutes. But the Wildcats stepped up their defensive effort and put together a 17-2 run.