The SEC schedule makers didn’t do Tennessee any favors sending them to Fayettville to open league play. Arkansas entered this one 10-2, one of the better teams so far in non-conference play. Their pace of play and three point shooting were major concerns for the Vols entering this one.
However, the Vols came out swinging this afternoon. Hot shooting from three point range paced the Volunteers as Admiral Schofield and James Daniel put Tennessee out front early on.
Aggressive play from Jordan Bone made the offense tick. Bone was a creator in the first half, adding eight points and three assists. For really the first time all season, Bone looked like he was the man in charge.
Of course we can’t forget about Grant Williams, who put someone else on a poster with this nasty dunk here.
Grant Williams out here snatching men’s souls. pic.twitter.com/16TBdRw2aP— Houston Kress (@VolRumorMill) December 30, 2017
Tennessee led 38-31 at the halftime break, after a bomb three from Daryl Macon. Still yet, it was a great half of basketball for the Vols.
You knew Arkansas was just too good not to make a run though. That run came early in the second half as Mike Anderson’s group cut that lead to just one point five minutes in.
Not helping Tennessee’s cause was Jordan Bowden picking up his third foul on the following possession.
Tennessee came up with an answer though. The Vols turned up the notch on both ends of the floor to extend the lead back to nine points. Tennessee lead 60-51 at the under eight timeout. It was an impressive spurt that put the Volunteers back in control of the game.
Arkansas closed the gap to get within five at the four minute mark, but Admiral Schofield answered with his fourth three ball of the game.
The Tennessee lead was 68-60, with 3:54 to play.
The two sides exchanged free throws on the following possession, then a burst from the Razorbacks made things interesting. Daryl Macon nailed a three and Arkansas stole the following rebound. Daniel Gafford put it up and in to cut the Tennessee lead to just three points.
Jordan Bone got the answer that the Vols had to have on the next possession, bringing the lead back to five. But Tennessee would lose star Grant Williams in the next sequence as he fouled out of the game.
Arkansas hit two free throws to make it a three point game again. They would get a stop and another bucket to follow. Tennessee’s once nine point lead was now just one.
The Razorbacks took the lead on their next try with a thunderous slam from Gafford. Just 44 seconds remained.
Tennessee got bailed out with a questionable foul as the shot clock was running down at the other end of the floor, giving Jordan Bone a chance to take the lead back for the Vols.
Bone went 1-2 from the stripe, bring the teams back to even at 73 all.
Arkansas had 10 seconds to get a bucket for the win. They went isolation with Macon, then called for a screen. Macon squared up from deep, but was off target, forcing overtime.
The Razorbacks took all of the momentum into the extra period. Jaylen Barford got the Hogs on the board first, but James Daniel answered quickly with a three ball for the Vols.
Admiral Schofield fouled out on the following possession, leaving Tennessee without two of their best players on the floor. John Fulkerson entered for Schofield.
After trading buckets and the lead, Tennessee turned the ball over on the in-bounds pass. Arkansas took advantage with another quick bucket to take a three point lead with 2:23 to play.
Once Grant fouled out of the game, Tennessee’s chances dimmed. Once Schofield fouled out, the Vols were finished.
It was a near carbon copy of the North Carolina collapse just a couple of weeks ago. Tennessee had zero answers defensively once Admiral exited. Arkansas took advantage and got hot late. Everything was falling for the Hogs.
Lamonte Turner did his best to drag the Vols back with a couple of late threes, but it wasn’t quite enough. Tennessee dropped this one 95-93, falling to 9-3 on the season.
Tennessee will be back in action against Auburn in Knoxville on Tuesday night.