Published: Mon, March 13, 2017
Sports | By Grace Becker

Hog-tied: Arkansas routs Vanderbilt 76-62 in SEC semifinals

Hog-tied: Arkansas routs Vanderbilt 76-62 in SEC semifinals

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Malik Monk's teammates refused to say that their sharpshooting freak of a freshman was in a slump.

But that didn't stop the future first-round National Basketball Association draft pick from rolling out of bed around 7 a.m. for a 7:30 shootaround with teammate Wenyen Gabriel.

Slump or not, Monk's cutting of Saturday morning cartoons to trek out into a flash snowstorm paid off immensely.

"It was great", Monk said of his 20-point performance. UK's De'Aaron Fox, the ultra-quick point guard, made the game his own, scoring 11 of the Cats' next 13 points as Kentucky slipped safely into the finals.

Coming off an emotional overtime win and playing a third game in less than 48 hours, Vanderbilt ran out of gas in Saturday, falling to Arkansas 76-62 in the SEC Tournament semifinals.

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"When they're going together, we're unbelievable", freshman forward Bam Adebayo said of his classmates.

Now this isn't anything unusual for the Wildcats. Arkansas will play its opening game on Friday at a time yet to be announced.

Then, when Monk missed a shot, Zimmerman shouted, "Off to the left today!"

The Commodores couldn't pull closer than 13 points the rest of the game. "There were times we were down 6 and fought back to come within 1 we fought hard and I liked our perseverance", said guard Riley Norris.

"We have a winning culture and that's kind of what we're supposed to do", said Derek Willis, one of three seniors on Kentucky's roster who has been part of the last three SEC Tournament-winning teams.

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Back in January, back when fast wasn't fast enough for these Kentucky Wildcats, back when the Cats were swallowing opponents like sharks, Kentucky ran roughshod over the Arkansas Razorbacks 97-71 in Rupp Arena.

That position is a near-lock to be the first 15-loss team ever taken as an at-large selection to the NCAA Tournament. "And they're really good players and the guys that they have coming back, the size, the skill, I think they're going to be really good". "He's saying stuff before the game, we were warming up and they were talking and talking". "We came out, got off to a good start against a Vanderbilt team that was one of the hottest teams in the country". "We're worrying about what we're doing". We outscoring people early on. "We're just playing to prove a point to people". But thanks to lower-body injuries and an illness, Fox's play dropped off in January and February, which led to Kentucky going from a top-four team to being ranked outside the top 10.

HARTFORD, Conn. - Cincinnati and CT played an American Athletic Conference tournament semifinal Saturday more worthy of the Big East Conference both programs once inhabited.

"And we're seeing Moses become that rim protector".

"This is what we talked about four years ago and to be like finally here, we can really taste it", Rhode Island guard E.C. Matthews said.

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