FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Ronnie Brewer recorded his second double-double of the season and Arkansas survived a last-second shot by Tennessee to post a 70-68 victory over the Volunteers on Saturday.
The win, before a crowd of 19,084, the fourth crowd of 19,000 or more this season, improves Arkansas to 18-9 overall and 6-8 in the Southeastern Conference. Tennessee is 12-15 and 5-9.
The Razorbacks, who snapped a four-game losing streak to the Volunteers, overcame a 30-point outing by UT freshman Chris Lofton and a five-point deficit in the final eight minutes.
Down 61-56 with 7:45 to play, Steven Hill made a free throw, Brewer a three and Olu Famutimi a dunk off a pass from Brewer to give Arkansas a 62-61 lead with 6:33 left. Lofton scored his 30th point on a three two seconds later to give the Volunteers a 64-62 lead.
A Darian Townes steal off a Lofton pass resulted in two Famutimi free throws to tie the game and Eric Ferguson’s three at the four-minute mark gave the Hogs a 67-64 lead.
C.J. Watson hit a 10-footer to cut the margin to one, but Charles Thomas, who had a big day for Arkansas, made a jumper to push the lead back to three.
Brandon Crump’s layup pulled UT within one with just under a minute to play.
UA worked the shot clock down and missed, but got an offensive rebound and ran more time off the clock before Dontell Jefferson was fouled and made one of two free throws with 23 seconds remaining for the final margin.
Tennessee called a timeout with 17 seconds left and got the ball to Lofton at the top of the key, but he was heavily guarded and passed to Watson, who missed a running jumper. UA tipped the ball away as the horn sounded.
“They really hung in there and handled the adversity well,” UA head coach Stan Heath said. “Both teams had pivotal games and came out fighting.”
“On the last play, we wanted to run the play to Brandon, but Chris caught the ball too high and they had a lot of pressure,” Tennessee head coach Buzz Peterson said. “We then got in scramble mode and couldn’t get a good shot.”
Arkansas, which led 37-32 at the half and 43-34 early in the second period, shot 47.3 percent from the floor (26-55) and 47.1 percent on three-pointers (8-17) while holding UT to 41.9 percent shooting (26-62), including seven-of-20 on threes (.350).
The Razorbacks also had a 38-32 rebounding advantage, and 18 assists and five blocked shots to help offset 14 turnovers.
Brewer, who now has four career double-doubles, finished with a team-high 23 points on eight-of-13 shooting and had a game-high 11 rebounds. He had a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds earlier this year against Jacksonville State. Brewer also added six assists and two steals.
Famutimi finished with 14 points on five-of-10 shooting and had seven rebounds. Ferguson had five points and a game-high seven assists with just one turnover, and Rashard Sullivan had three points, six rebounds and three blocked shots. Thomas had nine points on four-of-seven shooting and three rebounds. The point total is his best since scoring nine against Ole Miss in the conference opener on Jan. 5.
Lofton led Tennessee with 30 points on nine-of-20 shooting. Crump had 11 points, and Andre Patterson 11 points and eight rebounds. Crump and Patterson were each five-of-nine shooting.
Arkansas plays host to Mississippi State Tuesday at 6 p.m. in a game nationally televised by ESPN.