FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) – Students started lining up to get into Bud Walton Arena at 4 a.m. They hoped to see a Razorback win over Kentucky, but a size disadvantage and free-throw mistakes took the air out of the action and gave the Wildcats a 73-66 win.
“[We] don’t make free throws. Gotta get the free ones,” said Ryan Sasser, a Razorback fan from Camden. “Not boxing out [hurt us].”
A pre-game student line wrapped around the new dorms on Stadium Drive, as a sell-out crowd gathered to see the game. Despite a second-half run where Kentucky coach John Calipari got ejected, the Hogs (14-3, 3-2 SEC) didn’t have the size to keep their opponents off the glass.
Kentucky (13-4, 4-1) fans thought the ejection was the deciding factor.
“When something like that happens during the game and you have a young team, I think that made a difference,” said Jon Redman, a Kentucky fan. “That was actually the turning point of the game.”
The size problem has been ongoing throughout the season and will certainly play a factor as conference play continues. The Hogs will have to look for other ways to get boards, Sasser said.
“Boxing out, man…boxing out, hustling, getting steals, that’s all you can do,” Sasser said. “Make shots on offense. That’s it.”
The sell-out crowd impressed visitors from the Bluegrass State.
“I’ll tell you what, it’s the first time I’ve been down here, and this is a really nice arena,” said Matt Fackler, a Kentucky fan.
Despite the loss, Razorback fans haven’t given up on the three-loss Hogs just yet.
“I think we’ll take this loss and go ahead and get better, continue to get better through the season,” Sasser said. “We’ll be all right.”