Vols finish perfect 16-0 at home as Barnes logs 750th win
Using a furious first-half offense, the No. 13 Tennessee men’s basketball team defeated No. 14 Arkansas, 78-74, in front of the third-straight capacity crowd of 21,678 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Using a furious first-half offense, the No. 13 Tennessee men’s basketball team defeated No. 14 Arkansas, 78-74, in front of the third-straight capacity crowd of 21,678 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
With the victory, head coach Rick Barnes earned the 750th win of his head coaching career. Barnes currently ranks seventh in active Division I wins, two behind Kansas head coach Bill Self.
Tennessee (23-7, 14-4 SEC) wrapped up a perfect 16-0 regular season at home with a terrific 3-point shooting performance. The Big Orange made 12-of-18 (.667) from deep and fired 23-of-50 (.460) from the floor. The perfect home season was capped of by a third consecutive sellout crowd. It is the first time in the history of Thompson-Boling Arena that three straight sellout crowds filled the stands since the stadium’s opening in 1987-88.
Kennedy Chandler was a big part of the 3-point shooting line, sinking 5-of-6 (.833) from beyond the arc, his only field goals of the game. Those five baskets from downtown were a new career-high for the true freshman from Memphis.
Josiah-Jordan James put together yet another strong overall performance for Tennessee. The 6-6 guard tallied 12 points on 2-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc and 4-of-8 from the floor. He was powerful around the rim, pulling down seven rebounds and blocking a shot but perhaps made his biggest impact on the defensive end where he swiped a team-high three steals.
All-SEC candidate Santiago Vescovi was a dependable presence on the court of The Summitt, playing 37 minutes in the regular season finale. Vescovi, was 3-of-4 on 3-pointers and is shooting .399 from downtown this season. He planted both of his free throws and logged two steals.
SEC Sixth Man of the Year candidate Zakai Zeigler yet again was a spark off the bench for the Big Orange. He tallied 13 points, dished out a career-high six assists and collected five rebounds.
Arkansas (24-7, 13-5 SEC) made a furious comeback in the second half and was propelled by 16 offensive rebounds. JD Notae led the Razorback offense with 20 points, five rebounds and four assists.
The Vols owned the first half of play recording 50 points, their most in a first half this season and the second most in any half. Tennessee finished the period 9-of-12 on 3-pointers, led by Chandler who made all four of his tries from deep. The first-half prowess was on full display as the Vols grabbed five steals while only conceding seven turnovers.
Tennessee shot out of the gates, taking the lead 13 seconds into the game and never giving it up. UT scored 13 points before the first media timeout. The Vols could not miss from beyond the arc, shooting 6-of-7 from deep in the first 15 minutes of the half. Overall, the Big Orange connected on 50 percent of their field goals in the first half, going into the locker room with a 50-29 lead.
Arkansas found its mojo in the second period, wrestling down 24 rebounds, 12 on both the offensive and defensive end. Tennessee’s defense did not make it easy on the Razorbacks, holding them to 6-of-19 on 3-pointers. Arkansas was lights out from the charity stripe, making 11-of-12.
Tennessee did what it needed to do finish the victory, making late free throws in high-pressure spots. While the Vols last field goal came on a Brandon Huntley-Hatfield dunk with six minutes left in the game, UT only turned it over once in the final four minutes while constantly putting offensive pressure on Arkansas.
UP NEXT: The Volunteers secured the second-seed in the 2022 SEC Tournament in Tampa, Florida. Tennessee owns the double-bye and will wait to find out its potential opponents.
VOLS FINISH SEASON UNDEFEATED AT TBA: Saturday’s win capped a perfect 16-0 season for Tennessee at Thompson-Boling Arena. It marks the fourth time since Thompson-Boling Arena opened in 1987 that Tennessee has gone unbeaten at home and first since 2018-19.
ANOTHER RANKED WIN: Saturday’s win over No. 14 Arkansas marks Tennessee’s sixth win over a ranked opponent this season—the most by a Tennessee team in a single season since 2006-07, when the Vols also notched six.
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