Arkansas' Big Three put up its usual amount of points, but if anything was noteworthy on Saturday night it was the emergence of some other scorers.
Moses Kingsley had 17 points off the bench, Dusty Hannahs 13 and Anthlon Bell 12 - a trio that came in averaging just over 50 points - while true freshman Anton Beard added 12 and Jimmy Whitt 10 in one of his best games of the year as Arkansas whipped Tennessee 85-67 before 14,093 at Bud Walton Arena.
Manuale Watkins had 9 points and Trey Thompson 5 points and 5 rebounds in 15 minutes in a win that was the third in four games for Arkansas (12-11, 5-5), which shot 53.6 percent (30-of-56) from the field in the win and knocked down 14-of-23 3-pointers.
"We had to have a pretty good performance tonight and I thought our defense was good, we shot the ball well, we shared the ball and our bench was really big," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "If we are going to be a team that is going to be in contention for anything as we move forward, our bench has got to step up and play well."
Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes was not pleased.
"We're 11-12 and that has pretty much been our season - up, down, up down," Barnes said. "They pretty much got what they wanted when they wanted it and Moses Kingsley had a big game in there."
Kingsley did not start for the first time this season as punishment for picking up his second technical of the season for arguing after a call Wednesday night at Florida.
"I think the message was served," Anderson said. "I think he is ready to move forward. Having to sit down and just watch some film of some of the later games. He is talking and people are going to come after him and they are going to try and get up under his skin. That is the maturation of a player.
"You have got to mature and understand that now. You are a target now whether it be on offense or defense - and you have to go with the flow. You have to play above that and I thought he did tonight."
Kingsley was 8-of-11 from the field and 1-of- 5 from the free throw line on a night when the Razorbacks were just 2-of-9 from there in the first half, but bounced back to hit 14-of-16 charity tosses in the second half.
"I have got to learn how not to get too emotional sometimes in the game," Kingsley said. "It's not about starting. It's about getting the point across and I got the point. I am just glad we got this win tonight. My teammates stepped up. It doesn't matter if I start or not as long as we got the W, that is what matters."
Whitt had 15 points at Missouri, but had scored just four points in the past five games. He got started early by knocking down a 3-pointer and had two on the night after having made just one 3-pointer coming into the game.
"Just watching the starters go out there and set the tone for us, it would have been hard to go out there and not do the same thing that they were doing," Whitt said. "When they come out like that, it just energizes the people coming off the bench so we just wanted to pick up where they left off."
Beard, who was suspended for the first semester, also had one of his better games.
"That was probably his (Beard's) best performance of the year," Anderson said. "I thought he came in and gave us big minutes.
"Jimmy Whitt, I thought we saw him play more relaxed and he was just more in a flow, more in a rhythm
Kevin Punter, averaging 23.1 points per game coming in, led Tennessee (11-12, 4-6). The Vols had upset visiting No. 20 Kentucky 84-77 Tuedsay night in Knoxville. Punter scored 21 points, but was just 7-of-18 from the field after going 0-of-7 before intermission.
"We did a good job on Punter in the first half and I thought that was really a big differnce in the game," Anderson said. "He certainly is a prolific scorer and it amazing just the transformantion from this year to last year, but he was a tremendous junior college player as well. Rick has those kids playing hard. Man, they play hard."
The Vols shot just 34.4 percent (23-of-65) from the field.
"I thought it was one of the better defensive performances by our team," Anderson said. "...Our defense was really on point and then it led to transition offense for us. And when you have shooters like Bell and Hannahs and they are open and have the freedom to take those shots and make him. Hopefully they make them and they did tonight."
A little bit before the game there was a small fire in Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson's suite at Bud Walton Arena and sprinklers came on.
"I heard that when I was coming in," Anderson said. "I guess I started something before I got here."
Arkansas, which has now beat Tennessee three games in a row, takes two trips to Mississippi next week to play Mississippi State on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. and Ole Miss at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
"It's an eight-game season for us now so I just want to see us get better," Anderson said. "We have been in game's where we play well offensively, but I didn't think our defense was as good as it should have been. Tonight, althought we didn't get the turnovers (nine), our defense was very disruptive."
Photos by Ben Goff