Fayetteville, AR (SportsNetwork.com) - Michael Qualls' two-handed tip slam with 0.2 seconds left in overtime propelled the Arkansas Razorbacks to an exhilarating 87-85 win over 13th-ranked Kentucky in an SEC battle from Bud Walton Arena.
Arkansas (12-4, 1-2 SEC) hoped to avoid its second straight overtime tilt and led 74-71 late in regulation, but Andrew Harrison's uncontested 3-pointer from the right wing with 1.2 ticks left forced overtime.
The teams traded blows throughout the extra session, with a pair of Qualls free throws 26 seconds before the final buzzer giving the Razorbacks another three-point advantage.
On the other end, James Young drilled a triple which would have led to a second overtime, but Qualls had other ideas. As the seconds trickled down, Rashad Madden isolated his man on the right wing before launching a pull-up 3. No one blocked out Qualls on the weak side, and the rebound caromed into the hands of the 6-foot-6 sophomore. Qualls rose well above the rim before slamming it home to the delight of the home crowd.
"It was an unbelievable finish," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "He (Qualls) just came out of nowhere. It was fortunate for us he was playing for the Razorbacks."
Qualls and Madden netted 18 points apiece to lead Arkansas, which avoided back-to-back home losses for the first time since Feb 23-28, 2012. Alandise Harris added 12 points off the bench while Bobby Portis contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds for his third career double-double.
Young had 23 points to lead Kentucky (12-4, 2-1) while Julius Randle posted 20 points with 14 rebounds in the setback.
"I hate losing, but I'm fine," Kentucky head coach John Calipari said. "We had a bunch of turnovers early, but I thought offensively we basically made the plays we wanted."
Alex Poythress' jam gave the Wildcats a 70-67 edge with 5:30 remaining in regulation. Madden came back with a 3 on the other end to tie the score, leading to a field goal draught both ways until the final moments of regulation.
It was 71-apiece when Harris converted a three-point play with under 10 seconds to play. Kentucky rushed the ball up the floor and rather than take a timeout, it ran a side ball screen with Andrew Harrison finding space on the right wing. Young slipped him the ball, and Harrison's first bucket of the night forced overtime.
Earlier, Kentucky shot a blistering 13-of-19 from the field in the first half but trailed 43-41 at intermission after coughing it up 10 times while forcing just two Arkansas turnovers.
The back-and-forth affair continued into the second half, with Arkansas taking a 52-45 lead before the under-16 media timeout. Kentucky stayed within arm's length and jumped in front for the first time since late in the first half on a Randle free throw at 7:45.
Arkansas improved to 34-22 all-time against ranked foes at Bud Walton Arena ... The loss dropped Kentucky to 6-7 on the road vs. Arkansas all-time. The Wildcats have a winning road record against every other member of the SEC ... Randle had his 10th double-double of the season but first since Dec. 21 ... Kentucky won the rebounding margin 50-32 ... A freshman has now led Kentucky in scoring in 15 of 16 games ... Kentucky's Aaron Harrison scored 16 points ... This was the Wildcats' first loss when scoring 80-plus points ... There were a total of 60 fouls called and 81 free throws -- 40 by Kentucky, 41 by Arkansas -- attempted.