FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Kentucky freshman Archie Goodwin sounded philosophical and geographical about the boos and taunts he endured Saturday during the 73-60 loss at Arkansas.
"It doesn't really feel bad at all because I'm not from Fayetteville," he said. "I'm from Little Rock."
Little Rock, the state capital, is 187 miles southeast of Fayetteville. Goodwin, whose decision to play for Kentucky rather than Arkansas irked Razorback fans, noted the distance as significant.
"Everybody in Little Rock loves me," Goodwin said. "That's all that matters to me. My family loves me. If I was from here, it'd be different. But I'm not from here. I'm not worried about it at all."
Fans booed Goodwin's introduction and voiced disapproval whenever he touched the ball. More than one fan in the student section opposite the benches carried signs that poked fun of Goodwin.
Despite it all, Goodwin led Kentucky with 14 points. He also played one of his more economical games, making five of eight shots — only the fourth time this season (and first since the Jan. 19 game at Auburn) that he missed no more than three shots.
UK Coach John Calipari expressed his pride for how Goodwin handled the hostility. "He fought," Calipari said. "He tried."
An Arkansas student in the front row impersonated Calipari. He wore a dark suit and hoisted a sign that read "Archie, I can't coach you."
The student was Tyler Renard, a sophomore from Little Rock who said he played AAU basketball against Goodwin. His inspiration was Calipari's post-game comment at Tennessee about having two uncoachable players.
"I decided at that point I was going to dress up, slick my hair back and be John Calipari," Renard said.
Renard, a manager on the Arkansas football team, is majoring in sports management. He aspires to be a lawyer and player agent.
Trouble with inbounds
UK could not inbounds the ball a whopping five times. The first four turnovers, in order, were an intercepted pass thrown by Goodwin, a five-second violation by Alex Poythress, a walking call on Goodwin and a stolen pass thrown by Julius Mays.
"They were pressuring the ball and we weren't fighting over to get open," Willie Cauley-Stein said. "Once we didn't do that, as aggressive as they were, we didn't have the passing angles to throw it in. That made it really difficult for us."
Added Calipari: "I don't think we struggled to inbounds (the ball). We struggled when it was body to body, and we didn't fight back. So they pushed us."
Said Calipari: "It was a good game for them. They deserved to win. We deserve to go back sad on the plane."
On the bright side, Cauley-Stein agreed with a reporter's premise that Kentucky competed better at Arkansas than it did in the last away game; the 30-point blowout loss at Tennessee.
"Despite how we played throughout the whole game, when we were letting people pressure us and, you know, dogging us, at least, like you said, we didn't let down," he said. "Nobody had their head down like in the Tennessee game (when) we all put our heads down. This one, we felt we could still win with two minutes left. We were still playing that hard."
Goodwin made no guesstimate about how the loss might affect UK's quest for an NCAA Tournament bid.
"We have to try to win the last two games, and we'll have to see what happens from there," he said. "We can't dwell on this loss. We have another game coming up (at Georgia on Thursday). We have to try to make an impact in that one."
Arkansas players noted the strategy of exploiting UK's lack of depth by applying defensive pressure.
"Because they have a bench-depth problem, I guess," Coty Clarke said.
Teammate Marshawn Powell said that Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson "wanted us to get their bench involved."
Goodwin on UK being outscored 30-2 off turnovers: "If we divide that, we win the game."
A 'soft' look
Calipari suggested a member or members of the Arkansas coaching staff remarked as the teams left the floor that Kentucky was "soft."
"And I have to say that's what it looks like," Calipari added.
Tickets for the home finale against Florida are available, UK said. The tickets come from the unsold student allotment.
All tickets are in the upper level and cost $42 each.
Arkansas' 34.8 percent shooting accuracy Saturday made the Razorbacks only the third team since 1999 to beat Kentucky despite such poor marksmanship. The two teams to do so previously were: South Carolina, which made 34.4 percent in beating UK 68-62 on Jan. 26, 2010, and Vanderbilt, which shot 34.1 percent in winning 57-52 on Jan. 10, 2006.
Jerry Tipton: (859) 231-3227. Twitter: @JerryTipton. Blog: ukbasketball.bloginky.com