FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Tennessee used a 15-0 scoring run in the second half to take control of the game and the Volunteers had a huge advantage at the free throw line as they picked up a 70-62 victory over Arkansas Wednesday at Bud Walton Arena.
After trailing by three at the half, Arkansas (7-13, 2-7) scored nine consecutive points early in the second period to take a five-point lead. A dunk by Larry Satchell and a pull-up jumper by Jonathon Modica gave Arkansas a 30-29 lead, its first since a 19-17 advantage with 6:42 left in the first half. Dionisio Gomez, who matched his career scoring high with 18 points, hit a pair of jumpers to give the Razorbacks a 34-29 lead with 16:19 to play.
Arkansas did not score again until the 9:41 mark when Modica hit a driving layup. By then, C.J. Watson had scored five points and Thaydeus Holden four in a 15-0 run that gave Tennessee (14-6, 6-3) a 44-34 lead.
“There was a stretch in the game where we had a drought and it’s hard to say why that happens,” UA head coach Stan Heath said. “We had good shots, but they just didn’t fall. We have to make those. All the way around, we had plays that we could have made. It was an eight-point game at one time and I thought if we could have stopped it and pulled into six, we could come back, but we didn’t rebound. We had a breakdown defensively.”
The Razorbacks cut the margin to six twice, on a jumper by Gomez and a layup by Satchell, but Ron Slay answered the first time and Brandon Crump answered the second time, and Slay followed Crump’s tip-in with a jumper to push the margin back to double digits, 52-42, with 4:29 remaining.
Arkansas got within seven in the last two minutes, but UT, which was 28 of 39 at the free throw line for the game, including 21 of 29 in the second half, made 10 of 12 in the final 1:12 to keep the Hogs from making a run.
UA had more field goals (23-20) and three-pointers (4-2) than the Vols, and had a better shooting percentage (45.1-44.4), but the Razorbacks were just 12 of 18 at the line.
Slay, the SEC’s leading scorer, had a game-high 23 points on nine of 17 shooting. Holden finished with 17 points and Watson added 15.
Modica finished with 17 points for Arkansas and Kendrick Davis added nine.
Arkansas travels to South Carolina for a noon (central) game on Saturday, which is being televised by Jefferson-Pilot Sports.