FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Tyler Ulis scored 24 to lead four Kentucky players in double figures as the No. 23 Wildcats bounced back from a loss at Auburn with an 80-66 victory at Arkansas on Thursday night.
The win is the first for John Calipari as coach of the Wildcats in Bud Walton Arena, where he improved to 2-4 all time, including a win with Memphis in 2003.
"I'm trying to figure out this team, and I'm trying to figure out individuals," Calipari said. "I'm trying everything to figure out, 'What is this team?' Derek Willis makes us a better team, and I've got to put people on the bench and get him his minutes."
Jamal Murray added 19 points, Willis 12 and Skai Labissiere 11 for UK (14-4, 4-2 SEC), which avoided losing two straight for the first time since 2014.
Dusty Hannahs led the Razorbacks (9-9, 3-3) with 20 points, while Anthlon Bell had 16 and Moses Kingsley 13.
Kentucky allowed a season-worst 12 3-pointers in its loss at Auburn last week, but the Wildcats had no such problem shutting down the outside attack of the SEC's top shooting team on Thursday.
With Kentucky extending its perimeter defense to shut down Arkansas' league-leading 3-point tandem of Hannahs and Bell, the Wildcats managed to hold Arkansas to a season-worst 2-of-12 shooting from behind the arc — including 2-of-9 by Hannahs and Bell.
Offensively, Ulis scored 17 of his 24 in the second half — finishing 14-of-15 at the free-throw line and 2-of-3 on 3-pointers — as UK led for all but the game's opening free throw.
Arkansas entered second in the country in 3-point field goal percentage (47.2), but it struggled mightily to find success from the outside in the first half — missing all three of its 3-pointers as the Wildcats built a 36-24 halftime lead.
Willis was 5-of-8 shooting, hitting a pair of 3-pointers, as Kentucky extended its lead to as many as 18 in the second half.
NO. 9 IOWA 90, RUTGERS 76: Peter Jok scored a career-high 29 as the visiting Hawkeyes (15-3, 6-0 Big Ten) broke away in the second half to win their eighth straight. Iowa used a zone defense late in the first half in a 16-7 run that gave it a 45-37 halftime lead, and it opened the game up in the second half with long-range shooting. Mike Williams had 17 for Rutgers, coming off a 50-point loss to No. 22 Purdue on Monday, its worst home loss.
Cincy 76, Memphis 72: Troy Caupain scored a career-high 25 to propel the host Bearcats (14-6, 4-3 AAC). Cincinnati shot 50 percent despite making just 4 of 14 3-pointers.
NJIT 83, Jacksonville 63: Damon Lynn scored 20 with seven assists to lead New Jersey Institute of Technology over the visiting Dolphins (10-11, 2-2 A-Sun). JU was outrebounded 42-33.
FGCU 79, Kennesaw St. 74: Rayjon Tucker scored 19 to help the visiting Eagles (13-7, 4-0 A-Sun) to their eighth straight win. Florida Gulf Coast had a 39-28 rebounding edge, including 13-5 on the offensive glass.
Women: FSU dominates Virginia
TALLAHASSEE — Shakayla Thomas scored 20 and Ivey Slaughter had 13 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 14 Florida State to a 70-48 win over Virginia. Kai James added 10 points, all in the first half when the Seminoles (15-4, 5-1 ACC) opened a 30-23 lead. Thomas finished 10-of-13 from the field, going 8-of-11 in the second half, when FSU shot 52 percent. Breyana Mason led Virginia (13-7, 3-3) with 15 points.
Gators BEAT 'BAMA: Eleanna Christinaki scored 16 to help No. 22 Florida get past visiting Alabama 80-72. Christinaki was 5-of-9 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the free-throw line. UF (16-3, 4-2 SEC) shot better than 54 percent and won the rebound battle 40-25 over the Tide (13-6, 2-4).
NO. 2 S.C. 74, Auburn 58: Alaina Coates scored 17 and had 10 rebounds as the visiting Gamecocks (18-0, 6-0 SEC) weathered an early shooting drought and wound up with a lopsided win after surviving a 59-58 scare against Texas A&M on Sunday.
No. 3 N. Dame 90, Syracuse 62: Michaela Mabrey scored 20, hitting six 3s, in the rout for the host Irish (18-1, 6-0 ACC). Notre Dame blocked a season-high 10 shots, and the Orange was held to a season-low 28 percent shooting.
No. 7 Ohio St. 97, Michigan 93: Kelsey Mitchell scored 27 to help the visiting Buckeyes. Shayla Cooper added 25 points and 13 rebounds for OSU (13-5, 6-1 Big Ten).
GEORGIA 47, No. 10 MISS. ST. 43: Shacobia Barbee had 17 points and 11 rebounds in the upset for host Georgia (14-5, 2-4 SEC) over Mississippi State (17-3, 4-2).
No. 13 Texas A&M 81, No. 23 Mizzou 77, OT: Chelsea Jennings scored 22 — one of three Aggies to score 20-plus — and host Texas A&M (14-5, 4-2 SEC) held off the Tigers (15-4, 2-4) in overtime.
No. 18 Tenn. 58, Vandy 49: Te'a Cooper scored 13 and sparked a critical third-quarter run to end her personal slump as the Vols (12-6, 3-2 SEC) continued their home domination of this series. The Commodores have never beaten UT in Knoxville in 31 attempts. The win over their in-state rival enabled the Vols to avoid their first three-game losing streak since 1986. Cooper had scored a total of two points and had shot 1-of-15 in the three games leading up to this one.