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Arkansas Beats Tennessee 82-78 in Early SEC Thriller

That was lots of fun until we lost.

NCAA Basketball: Arkansas at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

In a great game at Thompson-Boling Arena, Tennessee used a 14-0 run to build a 13-point lead with four minutes to play in the first half. Then the Razorbacks used their transition game to close the half on an 11-0 run to cut it to two, and opened the second half on a 13-4 run to take a seven-point lead with 16:43 to play.

Tennessee would spend the rest of the night clawing, cutting the lead to two at 8:30 and to one twice after that before the final stretch. The second came after Arkansas rebuilt a seven-point lead with three minutes to play, but the Vols worked it back to three. Then Grant Williams drew Moses Kingsley one-on-one, rejected him, and Jordan Bone found Robert Hubbs on the other end for a dunk to make the Arkansas lead 71-70 with 1:50 to play. After two Arkansas free throws a great hesitation move from Bone cut it to one again.

In the final minute Daryl Macon did to Tennessee what Lamonte Turner did to Texas A&M: calmly walk to the line and make every free throw. A Detrick Mostella and-one cut it to one a final time with 25 seconds left, Macon made two more, and Mostella couldn’t get the roll at the rim with 11 seconds to play to effectively end the threat. Arkansas takes the victory 82-78.

In a wildly entertaining game, the Vols held Moses Kingsley to seven points but he added 10 rebounds and three blocks. It was the Arkansas guards who hurt the Vols: Macon, Hannahs, Beard, and Barford had 58 combined points. Arkansas shot 50% from the floor, 5-of-11 from the arc, and 71.9% at the line. They only turned it over nine times.

Yet the Vols were able to give themselves a chance thanks to 21 points from Robert Hubbs, 16 (on 12 shots) from Mostella, and an enormous offensive rebounding advantage from Grant Williams: 15 points and 11 rebounds for his first career double-double, six of them of the offensive variety. The Vols also did what they do in getting to the line 33 times, but were under their average in making 69.7% and missed some costly ones in the second half.

Consider this: the Vols were 5-of-19 (26.3%) from the arc tonight and are 30-of-118 (25.4%) in their six losses. If Tennessee could find even 30% from the arc, what would their record be?

The road gets no easier as the Vols go to #24 Florida on Saturday. But the expectation of entertainment was not diminished tonight. Jordan Bone got lots of minutes, including crunch time, leading you to believe he’ll be a bigger and bigger part of what Tennessee does going forward. Tennessee continues to show it’s going to be a real threat every single night; credit Arkansas for keeping them at bay tonight.