No. 19 Tennessee falls to Arkansas in overtime

No. 19 Tennessee opened up SEC play on Saturday afternoon with an overtime loss to Arkansas in Fayetteville.

No. 19 Tennessee (9-3, 0-1 SEC) was taken down by Arkansas (11-2, 1-0 SEC) in overtime on Saturday afternoon, 95-93. Senior guards Daryl Macon and Jaylen Barford guided the Razorbacks past the Vols with a combined 61 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

Arkansas tabbed its sixth straight win, and will now likely be ranked for the first time since 2014 after knocking off Tennessee. The Vols never lost the lead going into the half, but the script quickly flipped in the second half. The Razorbacks trailed the majority of the game before cutting it to 73-72 with a minute left to play in regulation.

Jordan Bone made a free throw to tie the game at 73 with just over 18 seconds remaining, and Macon missed a 3-pointer, sending the game into overtime. Arkansas finished the second half on an 11-3 run.

The Razorbacks momentum continued in overtime, as they built a 12 point lead. However, the Volunteers stormed back late by cutting it to a 2-point game with under two seconds remaining in overtime. Tennessee was unable to register a foul as time expired in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

A concerning theme for the 2017 Vols has been coming out of the gates slow in the second half and the inability to close out games.

“We started off the way we wanted to, we led for the first 36 or 37 minutes,” said Bone. “Just like North Carolina, we lost in the last two or three minutes.”

Bone led the Volunteers with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists. Four other Tennessee players logged double-digit points, including James Daniel, who scored 17 points off the bench. The Vols were unable to finish off Arkansas despite outscoring their bench 33-5. The Razorbacks averaged 32 points per game from the bench coming into Saturday’s matchup.

Barford (28) and Macon (31) both had career-highs in points for Arkansas and both had the first 13 points for the Razorbacks in overtime. Arkansas scored 22 points in overtime, which is the most in school history.

“I was really impressed with the Arkansas crowd, it’s like our crowd back home,” said Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes. “We played well enough and hard enough, but we weren’t poised enough.”

Both Tennessee and the Razorbacks will return to action on Tuesday. The Volunteers will be back in Thompson-Boling Arena to face Bruce Pearl and the Auburn Tigers, while Arkansas will take on Mississippi State.

Edited by Ben McKee

Featured image courtesy of Arkansas Athletics