FAYETTEVILLE Kevin Knox scored 23 points and Kentucky used a 31-11 run to end the game to win its second straight with an 87-72 victory over Arkansas on Tuesday night.
The win is the sixth straight over the Razorbacks for the Wildcats (19-9, 8-7 Southeastern Conference), who avoided losing five out of six games for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
Knox was one of five players to finish in double figures for Kentucky, which shot 46.3 percent (31 of 67) in the win and overcame an early 11-point deficit. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 18 points for the Wildcats, while PJ Washington finished with 13, Quade Green 12 and Jarred Vanderbilt 11.
Daryl Macon scored 26 points to lead the Razorbacks (19-9, 8-7), who led 61-56 midway through the second half. It was the ninth time in the last 10 games Macon has scored 20 or more points.
Anton Beard added 13 points and Jaylen Barford scored 12 for Arkansas.
The Razorbacks entered the game 14-1 in Bud Walton Arena with an average margin of victory of 17.2 points per game. They opened Tuesday night on an 11-0 run, much to the delight of the crowd, but Kentucky recovered from the slow start to end the half tied 43-43 — thanks in large part to a 22-10 halftime edge in points in the paint.
Kentucky: The Wildcats entered the game last in the SEC in made 3-pointers, with only 129 on the season compared to 216 for Arkansas. They had no problems from behind the arc on Tuesday night, finishing 8 of 21 on 3-pointers — including three 3-pointers by Knox. Wenyen Gabriel started the late run with a 3-pointer to bring the Wildcats within 61-59, and Kentucky hit three more 3-pointers during the stretch to close out the win.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks were 26th in the NCAA's RPI ratings coming into the game, and a victory would have gone a long way toward securing an NCAA Tournament berth for a third time in four seasons for the school. They still have several chances to impress the selection committee to end the regular season, including road games at Alabama and Missouri and a home contest with No. 12 Auburn.
Kentucky hosts Missouri on Saturday.
The Razorbacks are at Alabama on Saturday.
Kentucky 87, Arkansas 72 - Final
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kevin Knox combined for 41 points - 26 after the break - to lead Kentucky to a runaway win in Bud Walton Arena.
Daryl Macon led all scorers with 26 while Jaylen Barford finished with 12, four in the second half on 1 of 8 from the floor. The Wildcats strangled Arkansas with its defense and ran efficient offense on the other end in the final 20 minutes in snapping a four-game SEC road losing streak.
The Razorbacks head to Alabama on Saturday before hosting top-10 Auburn a week from tonight.
Kentucky 83, Arkansas 70 - 2:29 left
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kevin Knox have combined for 24 points in the second half and Kentucky's defense has put a stranglehold on the game.
Arkansas is averaging .871 points per possession since the break, scoring on just 13 of 30 possessions. Jaylen Barford has just two points and is 0 of 6 from the floor in the second half.
Kentucky 72, Arkansas 65 - 7:47 left
Kentucky has zapped a lot of energy out of the building. The Cats are averaging 1.381 points per possession in the second half and scored on 13 off 22 trips.
It's gut-check time for Arkansas, who hasn't scored is more than two and a half minutes. The Hogs are 9 of 17 from the floor since the break, but just 1 of 4 from 3 and Jaylen Barford has missed all four of his looks.
Kentucky 65, Arkansas 61 - 11:24 left
Kevin Knox is a pro. He's been great tonight and leads the Wildcats with 20 - nine in the second half. He knocked down a jumper and finished at the rim on consecutive possessions to give the Cats the lead again.
Daryl Macon leads Arkansas with 21, and Anton Beard has followed with 13, including a pull-up 3 in transition when Arkansas had numbers. He's 5 of 8 from the floor and 3 of 5 from deep to go with a team-high five assists.
Kentucky is on a 9-0 run and has its largest lead of the night following a Quade Green jumper. He has 10.
Arkansas 56, Kentucky 54 - 15:22 left
Daniel Gafford turned away a pair of Kentucky shots at the rim in one possession, giving him three for the night to go with seven points and four boards. Daryl Macon leads Arkansas with 19 and just gave Arkansas the lead on a transition score before the break.
Kevin Knox has 16 to lead Kentucky and PJ Washington, who picked up his third foul early on, has 11.
Arkansas 43, Kentucky 43 - Half
Daryl Macon ends the half by putting Kentucky's Sacha Killeya-Jones on his backside, stepping back and knocking down a huge 3. Macon leads all scorers with 14 points on 4 of 7 from deep.
The Razorbacks knocked down eight 3s in the first half. They're 6 of 16 inside the arc. Kevin Knox leads Kentucky with 11 points and PJ Washington added nine.
Dustin Thomas, in limited minutes due to foul trouble, has been aggressive and exceptional on the glass. He has just two points but grabbed seven rebounds - five offensive - in seven minutes. Arkansas is +13 with him on the floor tonight.
Kentucky 33, Arkansas 32 - 3:37 left first half
A pair of Kevin Knox free throws gave the Wildcats their first lead of the night prior to the break. Daryl Macon will be at the line when play resumes. C.J. Jones is now 0 of 3 from the floor after missing a midrange jumper.
Kentucky is currently on a 7-0 run over the last 1:34 and is outrebounding Arkansas 18-13.
Arkansas 29, Kentucky 24 - 7:34 left first half
Daryl Macon and Jaylen Barford have been fantastic so far. The duo have 17 points on 5 of 8 from deep and are playing with a ton of swagger. Macon, after his third triple of the night, high-stepped it back to halfcourt.
Macon leads all scorers with nine and Qaude Green has eight for Kentucky. Kevin Knox, the Wildcats' leading scorer, has four points on 1 of 5 from the floor and 1 of 3 from deep, including an airball.
Arkansas 17, Kentucky 13 - 11:58 left first half
The Wildcats have settled in for the most part after a difficult start. Kentucky is 5 of its last 6 from the floor and guard Qaude Green is 2 of 2 from deep.
Arkansas has already attempted 10 3s tonight, misfiring on its last four. C.J. Jones is 0 of 2 on a pair of really good looks.
Arkansas 11, Kentucky 2 - 15:58 left first half
That was an electric first four minutes. Arkansas knocked down its first two 3s and jumped out to an 11-0 lead before Kentucky got on the board with a PJ Washington layup. The Hogs are 3 of 7 from 3.
Dustin Thomas has five rebounds to go with two points on a putback. He did, though, pick up his second foul just before the break, stopping a Kevin Knox drive to the basket in transition. Kentucky, the worst 3-point shooting team in the SEC, opened the night 0 of 3 from deep.
Mike Anderson will start Jaylen Barford, Daryl Macon, Anton Beard, Dustin Thomas and Daniel Gafford for the third straight game.
Kentucky will open with Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Nick Richards, Wenyen Gabriel and Hamidou Diallo.