Bradley, Kentucky rally to clip ArkansasFeb 4, 2007 - 1:46 AM FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas (Ticker) -- Ramel Bradley helped Kentucky turn the tables on Arkansas once again.
Bradley scored 22 of his career-high 24 points after intermission as the No. 24 Wildcats rallied for an 82-74 victory over the Razorbacks in a Southeastern Conference contest.
Recovering from a 14-point deficit in the second half, Kentucky (17-5, 6-2 SEC East) captured its seventh straight win in the series. This was the second straight time that Arkansas failed to hold a sizable lead, as the Wildcats rallied from 18 points down for a 78-76 win at Rupp Arena on January 29, 2006.
"This was a great opportunity to get a great win at Arkansas," Bradley said. "The game isn't over until it's over. There was lots of time left on the clock."
Coming off a solid 63-57 win at Alabama last Saturday, the Razorbacks (14-8, 3-4 West) grabbed a 35-30 advantage at the break by closing the first half with a 17-4 run. Stefan Welsh scored five points during the burst, including the capping 3-pointer with 1:04 remaining.
"He had a big game and really stepped up," Arkansas coach Stan Heath said about Welsh. "He was a big reason for our lead at halftime."
Arkansas continued to add to the advantage after intermission, pulling ahead, 45-31, when Sonny Weems' jumper capped a 10-1 run with 16:45 remaining.
Bradley answered back with one of his four second-half 3-pointers and added a layup to cut the deficit to 49-46 with 9:51 left.
"I was a little angry going into the half," said Bradley, who shot 5-of-8, including 4-of-5 on 3-pointers after the break. "I was a little upset. Our shots fell and we picked up the intensity."
Kentucky continued to chip away at the deficit, closing within 53-52 on another 3-pointer by Bradley. Wildcats center Randolph Morris then blocked a shot by Darian Townes, leading to a fast-break layup by Jodie Meeks and a 54-53 edge with 8:24 to play.
That layup was part of a 19-7 spurt that moved the Wildcats ahead, 68-60, on dunk by Meeks with 3:14 left.
"We started getting more comfortable in the second half," Meeks said. "In the first half we were not comfortable, but it's a long game. We were trying to focus on playing hard. We scored any way we could score and just played hard."
"We never panic when we're down," Morris said. "We always stick to the game plan and dig our way out."
A big part of the game plan for Kentucky was a full-court press, which forced 11 of Arkansas' 19 turnovers in the second half. The Wildcats finished with 21 points off the giveaways.
"(Kentucky) slapped the press on us and we didn't handle it very well," Razorbacks center Steven Hill said. "I don't think we are wearing out. Today we had a lot of mental lapses. It hurt us not having Charles (Thomas), but we had some guys step in and contribute. It seemed like whenever the big men got the ball in the second half, we were double-teamed."
Thomas, who is third on Arkansas in scoring with 11.9 points, sat out with a strained right shoulder.
"We prepared for the press, but they didn't throw it on us in the beginning," Arkansas freshman guard Patrick Beverley said. "Then they got down and used it, and it was very effective for them."
Beverley tried to help the Razorbacks withstand the Wildcats' comeback, scoring 19 of his 25 points after intermission. The SEC's top scorer among first-year players, he shot 5-of-8 on 3-pointers.
"I was very impressed with Beverley," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "He played with such passion, heart and hustle. He is a winner."
Meeks finished with 15 points and Morris added 14 despite being benched at one point for sluggish play for Kentucky, which improved to 4-0 against the SEC West Division this season.
Weems scored 14 points and Welsh and Hill added 13 each for Arkansas, which dropped to 0-5 against teams from the SEC East Division.
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