#9 Vols rally then hold off Arkansas, 79-74
Tennessee improves to 8-1 bouncing back from loss to Alabama
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee (7-1) looks to bounce back from season’s first loss.
Last time out, Tennessee dropped its first contest of the season, falling to Alabama, 71-63, on Saturday night. The Vols were led by junior Victor Bailey Jr. who scored 16 points, and senior Yves Pons who registered five thunderous second half blocks to keep the Vols within striking distance in the second half.A victory on Wednesday would be UT’s third straight over Arkansas and would leave head coach Rick Barnes just two wins shy of tying Phog Allen and Don Haskins for 20th on the all-time Division I wins list.
After shooting just under 32 percent from the field against the Tide, the Vols have opened up 2-for-7 shooting against the Hogs. Arkansas has jumped out to an early 8-4 lead with just over 15 minutes remaining in the first half.
So far the Hogs are roasting the Vols shooting 53% including two three pointers. Arkansas leads UT 18-13 with just under 12 to play in the first half. Connor Vanover leads the Razorbacks with 7 points, Josiah Jordan-James has 5 points for Tennessee.
Razorbacks lead 20-15 with 7:59 to play in the first half. Hogs dominating on the boards out rebounding Tennessee 16-6, 12 of those on the defensive end. Not many second chances for a UT offense which is still trying to find itself.
Wooden Award candidate John Fulkerson has hit a couple big buckets for the Vols who took a brief lead at 23-22, but Hogs respond and lead 28-24 with 4:17 to play in the half. Arkansas has 4- 3 pointers in the game
Arkansas’ JD Notae converts a break away layup at the buzzer as the Razorbacks take a 40-33 lead over #9 Tennessee at the half. Hogs have hit 5-3 pointers. UT is just 2-10 from beyond the arc.
Tennessee has outscored Arkansas 9-2 to start the second half and has tied the game at 42-42 with 15:26 remaining in the game. John Fulkerson leads UT with 11 points. James has 10 points for the Volunteers.
John Fulkerson continues his steady play while a 3-pointer by Jaden Springer and subsequent lay up by Santiago Vescovi would give the Vins a 49-46 lead. At the under 12 minute break, UT leads Arkansas 49-48. Vols now 3-14 from 3-point and down 28-16 on the boards.
Tennessee would race out to its largest lead at 56-51 only to see the Razorbacks rally with a four point play. JD Notae fouled on the three-point shot by Victor Bailey Jr. He’d make the FT pulling the hogs to within one. Vols lead a close one at 61-59.
Under four minutes to play at TBA and the Vols of raced out to a 69-61 lead thanks to defense and improved shooting. Vols now 47% from the field. UT has also knocked down five three-pointers. Also key, Tennessee has also forced 19 Arkansas turnovers!
The Vols were unable to really pull away. Tennessee jumped out to a 69-61 lead, but the Razorbacks would rally late and pull to within one point at 75-74, but Tennessee would hit it’s free throws down the stretch to pick up win number eight of the season. The 9th ranked Vols would end up shooting 45% from the field, but really won the game with defense. Tennessee came up with 10 steals forcing 20 Arkansas turnovers. Although the Vols lost the battle of the boards 37-28, UT did block nine razorback shots on the night, four of them by senior Yves Pons.
Four Vols finished in double figures led by Victor Bailey Jr. and Josiah Jordan-James, who each finished with 17 points. Fulkerson added 16 points and freshman Keon Johnson 14.
2-1 in SEC play, the Vols now hit the road Saturday for a showdown with Texas A&M in College Station.
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