Kentucky overpowers Arkansas for third SEC tournament title in a row

Posted March 13, 2017

After Kentucky put away Arkansas 82-65 on Sunday to win its third straight SEC Tournament championship and 30th overall, most of the talk was about throat slashes, trash talk, elbows and flagrant fouls.

It is the second trip to the NCAAs in three seasons for Arkansas, and it is the second trip in Mike Anderson's six seasons as head coach.

Calipari said he didn't see it, but will address it with Monk.

UK's other senior, Mychal Mulder, then closed the half with a deep 3-pointer to send Kentucky to the locker room with a 42-30 lead, its largest of the game despite Kentucky's three premier freshmen - Fox, Monk, Adebayo - each missed action with two fouls each.

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Arkansas defeated a red-hot Vanderbilt club 76-62 in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament to setup a rematch with eighth-ranked Kentucky in the finals.

"I take responsibility for everything", Groce said at the news conference. Bam Adebayo had a near-double-double with 10 points and 9 rebounds, and the Wildcats only won by five, 79-74. They also got a big boost off the bench from senior Dominique Hawkins, who contributed 12 points.

"It was great", Monk said of his 20-point performance.

Redshirt freshman Dazon Ingram led Alabama with 17 points before fouling out of the contest in the final two minutes. But how could they possibly be expected to earn a top seed in the big dance every year? "And these two gentlemen that are up here now, Riley Norris and Braxton Key, are huge reasons why we're advancing in the SEC tournament". So, I think it's just a combination of guys getting comfortable in what we're doing and trusting one another.

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Saturday was the first time Alabama has allowed an opponent to score more than 60 points in the last eight games.

"We just had to keep our composure and stay together as a team", Monk said. "None of them have ever played better in their lives". It committed 15 turnovers, Isaiah Briscoe struggled offensively and the team shot 6-for-16 from 3-point range.

Never anxious that his chance might not come, Hawkins only focused on how he could help the team win in the minutes he played rather than worry about how much playing time he was going to receive. "We're playing well and playing for one another. After the first couple of games, if you told me we were going to play Kentucky in the semifinal game and lose by four or five points, I would have looked at you insane", said forward Braxton Key.

"We tried to corral him in transition", Fox said. "We feel that people not talking about us is motivation".

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- There's some fight back in the Arkansas-Kentucky basketball series. "Every time he steps up, we own the paint, and that's what we need tomorrow".