Tennessee, ranked ninth in the AP and eighth by the coaches, did not score a field goal the last 4:50 of the game, but they made 12-of-14 at the free throw line to pull out a 79-74 decision over David Patrick’s Arkansas at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Arkansas only made 1-of- 5 from the field midway through the second half and Tennessee took its largest lead of eight points (69-61) with 3:56 left. JD Notae made back-to-back layups and Connor Vanover added a third to make the score 69-67 with 2:06 left.
Keon Johnson, who was just a 583% free throw shooter, made six straight free throws over the next minute-and-a-half for a four-point Tennessee lead with 33 seconds left. Jalen Tate answered with a 3-pointer to cut the Arkansas deficit to one, 75-74. After two Santiago Vescovi free throws, Tate had a great look from 3-point range, but the ball did not drop. Josiah-Jordan James pulled down the rebound, was fouled and made to free throws to put the game away.
Notae led four Arkansas players in double figures. He was 7-of-11 from the field and scored 19 points. Tate was also 7-of-11 from the field and scored 15 with six rebounds and five assists. Vance Jackson Jr., scored 14 with nine rebounds and Connor Vanover had 12 points and seven boards.
James and Victor Bailey Jr., each scored 17 for Tennessee while John Fulkerson had 16 and Johnson 14.