FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — It was a complete effort from start to finish by the Arkansas men’s basketball team on Saturday night, as the Razorbacks defeated visiting Tennessee 85-67 in Bud Walton Arena.
Five players reached double figures, including Jimmy Whitt (10) for the first time in seven games. Arkansas shot 52.6 percent from the field while holding the Volunteers to 35.4 percent shooting.
A Dusty Hannahs three-pointer on the Razorbacks’ first possession of the game gave the Hogs a lead they never relinquished. Tennessee responded with a bucket on the other end, but then proceeded to go 2-for-19 over the next 11 minutes as Arkansas took a 23-7 lead. Moses Kingsley led the team with 17 points on 8-for-11 shooting, and Hannahs added 13 to hand the Vols their worst loss of the season.
Through the first 20 minutes of play, the Razorbacks held Tennessee to 24.2 percent shooting and 23 points, which tied the Vols’ mark for their lowest-scoring first half of the season. The Arkansas defense held Kevin Punter – who came into the game averaging 23.1 points – to zero field goals and four points from the foul line.
Coming off the bench for the first time this season, Kingsley reached double digits with 11 points in the first frame as the Hogs led 36-23 at the half.
Even though Punter erupted for 20 points in the second half, it didn’t happen to matter much. Five quick points from Anthlon Bell – who had 12 in the contest – put the Razorbacks up by 18 and Tennessee never got within 12 the rest of the way. Bell had 10 points in the second frame alone, as did Anton Beard, who finished with 12 for the game.
“February is the month you build on. Tonight I thought our defense was very disruptive. Our guys stayed in the moment and we kept playing to win. Even as guys got tired, we had guys coming off the bench who lifted us up and took us to another level.” — Head coach Mike Anderson
“I have to learn not to get too emotional during games. I’m glad we got the win. It doesn’t matter whether I start or not, all that matters is that we got the win and that I was able to come in and help my team.” — Junior forward Moses Kingsley
“When you get after it on defense you’re able to run on offense. We played inside out and we had a height advantage so we really were able to capitalize on that. Dusty started us off with a three and I think that got us going tonight.” — Junior guard Manuale Watkins
• Five Razorbacks reached double figures for the fifth time this season, and the first time since their 94-61 win at Missouri on Jan. 12.
• Arkansas handed Tennessee a 18-point defeat, the Vols’ worst loss of the season. Their previous worst loss was a 88-74 defeat at Vanderbilt on Jan. 20.
• With only 10 turnovers, it was the 10th time this season the Razorbacks had 10 or fewer giveaways in a game.
• By going 9-of-21 (40.9 percent) from beyond the arc, Arkansas has shot over 40 percent from deep in 15 games this season.
• The Razorbacks shot 52.6 percent from the field, their eighth game this season over the 50 percent mark, but the first time in seven games.
• Jimmy Whitt went 2-for-2 from three-point range, setting a career high in makes.
• Keaton Miles had three blocks in nine minutes of playing time. Three games ago against No. 5 Texas A&M, he had four blocks in nine minutes.
• Anthlon Bell has hit a three-pointer in all 23 games this season.
• Moses Kingsley has scored in double figures in all 23 games this season.
Arkansas returns to action on Tuesday, Feb. 9, traveling to Starkville for a battle against Mississippi State. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. on SEC Network.