FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas (Ticker) -- Patrick Sparks continues to make his mark with the Kentucky Wildcats.
Sparks hit an 18-foot jumper with 34 seconds left to give No. 6 Kentucky a 68-67 victory over Arkansas in a Southeastern Conference game.
A transfer from Western Kentucky, Sparks scored just five points and ended in single digits for the second time in his last eight games. But his bucket was the clincher for the Wildcats (16-2, 6-0 SEC East), who won their sixth straight contest.
"That was a great college basketball game," Wildcats coach Tubby Smith said. "It was a battle of who was going to finish strongest."
After Sparks hit his jumper, Arkansas (14-6, 2-5 West) answered back when Eric Ferguson nailed a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left that cut the lead to 68-67. Then Chuck Hayes missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 5.5 seconds remaining and the Razorbacks hustled the ball up the floor, but Ferguson missed a 23-footer at the buzzer.
"It's tough to get so close, especially in front of our home fans," Razorbacks guard Ronnie Brewer said. "I wanted to provide a spark for my teammates. Little plays just, kind of, came back to haunt us."
Kelenna Azubuike scored 13 points and Rajon Rondo added 12 for Kentucky, which shot 57 percent (26-of-46) in posting its 12th win in its last 13 games.
"It was a tough game," Azubuike said. "We kept our composure, played well under pressure and a bunch of guys stepped up today."
Olu Famutimi hit a pair of baskets that brought Arkansas within 64-61 with 1:42 remaining. Bobby Perry pushed the lead back to five when he scored on a feed from Sparks with 75 seconds remaining.
"We got the ball down the floor well," Perry said. "We executed better in the second half. The fans were great and it was a tough place to play."
Eighteen seconds later, the Razorbacks' Jonathon Modica converted a three-point play to reduce the deficit to two before Sparks hit the jumper.
The Razorbacks forced 19 turnovers but shot 36 percent (24-of-66) from the floor in losing their fifth game in six outings. Brewer scored 18 points and Darian Townes had 16 for Arkansas.
"There were a couple (of) periods where we were looking fatigued," Arkansas coach Stan Heath said. "The crowd gave us extra juice to lift us up. We had to scrap and play on every single possession."
Kentucky is off to its best start since the 1997-1998 National Championship season and has won 42 of its last 48 games away from Rupp Arena.