FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Kentucky players held their breath Saturday as they waited to see whether Eric Ferguson's 3-point attempt at the game's end would fall for an Arkansas victory. But the shot missed, and the No. 7 Wildcats survived for a 68-67 victory.
Kentucky's Kelenna Azubuike scored 13 points, Rajon Rondo added 12 and Patrick Sparks added a key basket with 24.2 seconds left that turned out to be the winning shot.
Eric Ferguson countered Sparks' field goal with a 3-pointer, pulling Arkansas within a point. The Wildcats' Chuck Hayes missed a free-throw try, and Ferguson got the rebound but missed a 3-point try as time ran out.
The Wildcats again showed they can escape a close road game with a victory. They pulled out a 53-50 victory at Mississippi on Jan. 19. As the Razorbacks enter the second half of their Southeastern Conference season, they are showing signs they could get the wins they need to qualify for an NCAA Tournament bid.
Bobby Perry came off the bench to score nine for the Wildcats (16-2, 7-0 Southeastern Conference).
Ronnie Brewer scored 18 points, Darian Townes added 16 and Olu Famutimi finished with 13 points for Arkansas (14-6, 2-5).
Kentucky was able to keep fresh legs rotating into the game as Arkansas players became winded.
"We have a good, deep bench and that helps us control the tempo of the game and keep the pressure on people," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. We are a physical team and we wanted to trap Brewer and defend him hard. We let Brewer off the hook early in the game by fouling. Our game was to be physical with him and wear him down."
AUBURN 62, TENNESSEE 59
In Auburn, Ala., Nathan Watson scored 15 points and Quinnel Brown and Ian Young each added 11 to lead Auburn to a victory over Tennessee.
Watson went 5-for-9 from the field and was perfect in four free throw attempts for the Tigers (10-9, 1-5), who won their first league game of the season.
Daniel Hayles added 10 points.
The teams switched leads four times, until Brown's layup with 2:45 remaining sparked a 7-0 run and put Auburn ahead for good.
Tennessee (10-10, 3-4) inched closer within the final 30 seconds on a pair of free throws and a final 3-pointer by Scooter McFadgon.
VANDERBILT 73, MISSISSIPPI 51
In Nashville, Tenn., Corey Smith scored 14 points and had five rebounds as Vanderbilt snapped a four-game losing streak with a victory over Ole Miss.
Vanderbilt shot a season-high 61 percent from the floor, a marked improvement from the 41 percent it shot during its four-game losing streak.
Mario Moore scored 12 points in a rare appearance as a reserve and Ted Skuchas added 11 points off the bench for Vanderbilt (12-8, 3-4).
Kendrick Fox scored 13 points to lead Ole Miss (11-10, 2-6), which saw its losing streak extended to four games.
Vanderbilt has won 12 of the last 13 games against Ole Miss at Memorial Gym.