Kentucky men’s basketball seeks 4th straight win


Sophomore forward PJ Washington celebrates while coming off the court. UK men’s basketball team played against Auburn at Rupp Arena on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Madison Dennis

After a Wildcats win against Auburn on Saturday, Kentucky stays in Lexington in its next-to-last home game to battle the Arkansas Razorbacks and are hoping to add their fourth straight victory to the wins column.

Coming off a loss from Texas A&M, Arkansas currently stands with a record of 14-13. The Razorbacks are in a slump, marking their fifth straight loss. In the SEC, their record is 5-9. 

Arkansas is hoping to use their biggest threat in sophomore Daniel Gafford offensively. He is one of four players in the NCAA to average 60 percent from the field while also averaging 15 points and eight rebounds. Gafford leads the SEC in several categories, including field goal percentage and rebounding, and is also the only player to rank in the SEC top-five in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots. 

“It’s a big challenge for our guys. It’s a big challenge for our young guys. It would be a big challenge for anyone. Obviously you see that by his numbers and his production this season,” Kentucky assistant coach Joel Justus said on stopping the offensive threat. 

The Wildcats will need to respond defensively the way they have for most of the season in order to stop the Razorbacks’ scoring game. Without Reid Travis, the Wildcats collectively were able to keep up defensively against Auburn. Notably, Keldon Johnson fought for many rebounds and had a career high of 17 during their last game. The Cats are hoping for the same performance against the Razorbacks. 

“But I think you also see individuals that are now being talked about as great defenders but most importantly I think guys in that locker room see themselves as great defenders for the first time probably ever in their life,” Joel Justus said.

Last year, Kentucky won both games against Arkansas. This matchup is the 43rd meeting between the teams, with Kentucky winning 31 games out of the 42 meetings. 

A Kentucky win will allow the Cats to at least tie to lead the SEC record. They will tip off at 9 p.m. in Rupp Arena and the game will be broadcast on SEC Network.