NASHVILLE – John Calipari wanted a physical game for No. 8 Kentucky before the NCAA tournament.
He got just that Sunday from Arkansas, with the added bonus of winning yet another Southeastern Conference tournament title.
De'Aaron Fox scored 18 points, and Kentucky won its third consecutive SEC tournament championship by beating Arkansas 82-65 in a game that got very chippy in the final couple of minutes. Kentucky's Malik Monk celebrated a couple of shots with throat-slash gestures.
"That ends up being a great teaching point, and we did what we had to," Calipari said.
The Wildcats (29-5) added their 30th tournament title all-time to go with their 48 regular-season championships.
The Razorbacks couldn't string together points the way they usually do, not with Kentucky answering every big bucket with its own run. The big spurt came as Kentucky scored 13 unanswered points to end the first half and into the opening minute of the second that turned a three-point lead to a 46-30 edge.
During warmups, Monk said someone with the Razorbacks (25-9) tried to taunt the native of Lepanto, Ark. Monk said he couldn't remember what the man said.
"I made a three, emotions took over, made a little [throat-slash gesture] like the game was over," Monk said. "I mean, I just got to learn from that."
It got very chippy late after Arkansas hit six consecutive shots to pull within nine for the only time in the second half.
Dusty Hannahs was given a flagrant foul for knocking Kentucky guard Dominique Hawkins to the court with his forearms, then Moses Kingsley went to the locker room with 1:02 left for his physical foul of Fox.
"It was unfortunate," Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. "But, at the same time, I don't think anybody was intent on trying to hurt anybody."