KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Josh Richardson scored 20 points and Tennessee withstood a furious Arkansas comeback to hang on for a 74-69 victory over the 19th-ranked Razorbacks on Tuesday night.
After trailing by 13 points with under four minutes left, Arkansas (13-3, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) cut the margin to three and had a chance to tie the game when Anton Beard was fouled by Kevin Punter while attempting a 3-pointer with 5.1 seconds remaining.
But Beard missed all three of his ensuing free throws. Armani Moore clinched the victory by sinking two free throws with 3.7 seconds remaining.
Tennessee (10-5, 2-1) snapped Arkansas’ seven-game winning streak despite shooting just 14 of 26 from the line, including 12 of 22 in the second half.
Robert Hubbs scored a career-high 16 points and Moore added 14 for Tennessee. Bobby Portis scored 17, Michael Qualls had 15 and Beard added 12 for Arkansas.
Richardson, Hubbs and Moore shot a combined 20 of 26 from the floor.
Tennessee was coming off a 56-38 loss to Alabama in which the Vols were held without a basket for a stretch of over 14 minutes in the second half. The Vols’ defense helped their offense bounce back from that dreadful performance.
The Vols shot 51 percent (27 of 46) and outscored Arkansas 27-15 in points off turnovers.
Tennessee led 33-31 at halftime and started the second half on a 10-2 run to build a 10-point advantage. Arkansas answered with five straight points to cut the deficit in half, but Tennessee responded with an 11-0 run to grab a 54-38 advantage. The spurt included a pair of 3-pointers from Detrick Mostella.
After reducing Tennessee’s lead to 43-38, Arkansas scored just one point over the next seven minutes. As much as the Razorbacks heated up down the stretch, they couldn’t quite come all the way back.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks had been seeking to match their best start in SEC competition.
Arkansas won its first three SEC games in 1992-93 and 1997-98.
Tennessee: The Vols used their eighth different starting lineup of the season. Junior forward Derek Reese and Hubbs moved into starting roles Tuesday, with Punter and freshman forward Willie Carmichael coming off the bench.
Arkansas: Hosts Mississippi on Saturday
Tennessee: At Missouri on Saturday