Arkansas trailed 10-0 at the outset and 61-52 with just five minutes to play, but rallied with a 13-2 run for a 65-63 lead with just under three minutes to play. But the hogs would not score again and Tennessee pulled out a 69-65 victory in Knoxville.
The Vols scored the game winner on C.J. Watson's three-pointer with 58 seconds left. That gave them a 66-65 victory. The Vols hit three of four from the foul line in the final 26 seconds to clinch the victory.
Arkansas did not score in the final 2:48 after Ronnie Brewer's layup on a fast break fueled by a steal by Olu Famutimi.
The Hogs missed several chances to increase their advantage with just over one minute to play. The sequence started with Ronnie Brewer coming up empty on a drive and a scoop shot from close range. Billy Pharis rebounded and missed from under the goal. Famutimi then rebounded and came up empty on a 5-foot turnaround shot.
Tennessee rebounded that miss and found Watson at the other end for an open 3-pointer to give the Vols the lead they would not relinquish.
Famutimi, 6-6 freshman forward, led the Hogs with a career high 18 points. He added five rebounds and three steals in 30 minutes in his best game of his college career.
"Olu had a great game, but with the lead and the clock in our favor, we'd prefer to take it back out at that point and milk it some more," said Stan Heath, UA coach. "In the heat of the battle, he thought he had a great shot. in the huddle, I told him that next time he'll understand we don't have to shoot it then. But I understand that the way he was playing, it's tough to turn that one down."
Mike Jones added 13 points. Pharis scored 11 with eight rebounds. Jonathon Modica scored 11. Matt Jones, who played 36 minutes, had seven points, seven rebounds, seven assists, one steal and no turnovers.
"It was a really hard-fought game," Heath said. "Both teams played well. Tennessee made some tremendous runs and I'm really proud of our guys for not folding.
"The game was decided down the stretch on a series that Ronnie went in, drew some contact and didn't finish. We played our hearts out and it didn't go our way.
"I thought Billy Pharis played well. He and Matt, when they were together, did some nice things. Olu had his best games and hit some big threes when we really needed them. Matt played a very solid all-around game. For awhile, it seemed like he was the only one getting a defensive rebound then the guys helped him out some."
"We had 16 assists and just six turnovers so that shows we were sharing he ball really well.
McFagdon led the Vols with 19 points. Most of those came early. The Hogs went to a box-and-one defense to cool his 3-point shooting, but that left the middle open. Watson added 14 points and Brandon Crump scored 13 with 10 rebounds.
Tennessee 69, Arkansas 65 (Final)
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