It was a forgettable return to Rupp Arena for an "Unforgettable" Kentucky alumnus.
John Pelphrey wore a Razorback red tie as he led his Arkansas team into the gym where he donned Kentucky blue as a college standout, but Kentucky spoiled the homecoming with a 63-58 victory Saturday.
"I knew there was going to be a flood of memories and emotions go through me when I got back in the building," Pelphrey said. "I found it really weird, holding my daughter's hand coming in. There's a lot of memories, but it doesn't get in the way of the job we're trying to get done."
It was a critical game for programs hoping to sneak into the NCAA Tournament.
Kentucky is 6-0 in conference home games and sits two behind No.2 Tennessee for the top record in the East. Arkansas failed to make up ground on West-leading Mississippi State.
Pelphrey, a Kentucky native who was a fan favorite as a member of Rick Pitino's "Unforgettables" team that lost to Christian Laettner and Duke in a 1992 NCAA region final, received a standing ovation as he made his entrance through the tunnel.
Midway through the second half, Kentucky trailed by as many as seven, but it clawed back to regain the lead down the stretch.
Joe Crawford's fadeaway jumper tied it at 55 with just more than two minutes left. Ramel Bradley's almost identical fadeaway a minute later gave the Wildcats the lead for good.