(WAVE) - A Kentucky team that has struggled to finish games all season, seemingly had fixed that problem, only to see it rear it’s ugly head in the final four seconds of an 81-80 loss to Arkansas in Rupp Arena on Tuesday night.
The Cats had battled back from a 12 point deficit in the final six minutes.
BJ Boston drained a three with 28 seconds left to get the Cats within 78-77 and when Davion Mintz connected on UK’s 14th three-pointer with 12 seconds left, they led the Razorbacks 80-79.
An Arkansas miss followed, and when Jalen Tate grabbed the rebound and tried to go back up, the officials called Kentucky’s Jacob Toppin for a foul.
Tate sank both free throws with 4.3 left to give the Razorbacks an 81-80 lead.
UK had set up a play in a timeout after Tate tied the game with the first free throw, but the execution was not there.
Toppin inbounded the ball to Olivier Sarr near midcourt, and when Sarr went to pass to Devin Askew, Arkansas guard Davonte Davis was there to make the steal.
“This team, that’s the best we’ve finished a game, so I’m like, I can’t be that upset,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “There were things that happened. I got to go back and look at the last call. I mean, was it a jump ball? Was there body contact? Was there something, cause this game was physical, to give them two free throws to win the game, I don’t know, we’ll see it when I watch the tape.”
Boston led UK with 17 points. Sarr added 13 points and 10 rebounds and Askew had 11 points and six assists.
The Cats fall to 5-13, 4-7 in the SEC. Arkansas improves to 15-5, 7-4. The Razorbacks snapped an eight-game losing streak to Kentucky.
UK hosts Auburn (11-10, 5-7) on Saturday at 1 p.m.