LEXINGTON, Ky. — Tyler Herro had career highs of five 3-pointers and 29 points, including two free throws with five seconds remaining, and No. 4 Kentucky rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat Arkansas 70-66 on Tuesday night.
Out of sorts for 22 minutes, the Wildcats (24-4, 13-2 Southeastern Conference) quickly regrouped behind Herro, who finished 5 of 6 from behind the arc and 9 of 10 overall. His long-range baskets 43 seconds apart sparked an 18-3 run over 7:43, and the freshman guard capped the spurt with another 3 for a 54-51 lead.
Arkansas (14-14, 5-10) stayed within a couple of possessions over the final seven minutes but couldn’t break through. Kentucky got clutch free throws in the last 26 seconds from PJ Washington, Herro and Hagans, who made two with 1.3 seconds left to seal the Wildcats’ fourth consecutive victory.
Keldon Johnson added 13 points, and Nick Richards came off the bench to grab 15 rebounds for the Wildcats, who shot 50 percent from the field.
Isaiah Joe had 19 points and Desi Sills 15 for the Razorbacks, who shot 31 percent in the second half and lost their sixth in a row.
Kentucky answered a wakeup call to maintain its top-five standing with a bigger challenge looming this weekend at Tennessee.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks had the pace and momentum they wanted but couldn’t sustain either in ending the month 2-6. All of the things that worked in the first half fell apart in the second, costing them a huge win that also left them at .500.
Kentucky: The late-evening start might have contributed to their sluggishness, but the Wildcats found a way out of it to win the tuneup for this weekend’s showdown at Tennessee. Richards’ rebounding provided a 40-27 edge, and his inside presence was key in shutting down the Hogs. That led to chances for Herro that paid off with 17 points after the break.
Arkansas hosts Mississippi on Saturday, seeking to avenge an 84-67 loss on Jan. 19.
Kentucky visits No. 7 Tennessee on Saturday in the rematch between conference co-leaders. The Wildcats won the previous meeting 86-69 on Feb. 16.