No. 6 Kentucky patiently gets by Arkansas

Antonio Reeves scored 24 points and No. 6 Kentucky overcame a frigid first half to register a 63-57 victory over Arkansas on Saturday in Southeastern Conference play at Fayetteville, Ark.

Reed Sheppard added 14 points and four steals for Kentucky (15-4, 5-2 SEC), which won despite shooting 36.5 percent from the field. Tre Mitchell added 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Wildcats, who never led during the game’s first 27 minutes.

Makhi Mitchell had 12 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots for the Razorbacks (10-10, 1-6), who lost for the sixth time in seven games. Tramon Mark added 11 points and eight rebounds and Khalif Battle also scored 11 points.

Kentucky was 9 of 20 from 3-point range. The Wildcats, who played without Rob Dillingham (illness), missed 15 of 16 field-goal attempts over the game’s first 10 1/2 minutes.

The Razorbacks made just 33.3 percent of their shot attempts for the second straight game. Arkansas was 4 of 19 from behind the arc.

The Razorbacks led 37-31 after a driving layup by Battle with 15:45 remaining in the game.

Kentucky rattled off the next seven points on a 3-pointer by Reeves and two baskets by Sheppard, the latter a dunk with 12:54 remaining to give Kentucky its first lead of the contest.

A short time later, Reeves raced in for a dunk to give the Wildcats a 44-41 lead with 8:32 left.

Kentucky’s next four baskets were 3-pointers — two apiece by Tre Mitchell and Reeves.

The run-ending trey by Reeves with 2:40 left was the start of a decisive 8-0 burst. D.J. Wagner scored a fastbreak layup 24 seconds later and Sheppard buried a 3-pointer to make it 61-52 with 1:27 to go.

Arkansas led 26-24 at halftime as both teams shot just 29 percent from the field.

The Wildcats were ice cold, and the Razorbacks weren’t simmering but jumped out to a 14-4 lead on a basket by Layden Blocker with 9:32 left in the first half.

Back-to-back baskets by Reeves pulled the Wildcats within 21-20 with 3:04 to play, but Kentucky was not able to move ahead until later in the contest.