One And Done In The Dome

ATLANTA -- Arkansas said its chemistry had improved going into the Southeastern Conference Tournament.

The Razorbacks certainly lost as a team Thursday night.

Arkansas went through field goal droughts of 10 and seven minutes against Tennessee, was outscored 34-2 over that span and took a second straight whipping from a losing team to bow out in the first round 65-46 in the Georgia Dome.

Tennessee (14-16) hammered Arkansas (18-12) on the glass 42-23, used the 2-3 zone nearly exclusively to hold Arkansas to 14 field goals in the final 36 minutes and shot 57 percent (8 of 14) from the 3-point line led by Scooter McFadgon's 4 of 7 and 22 points.

Tennessee moves on to face East Division champion Kentucky today while Arkansas heads home to wait for a possible NIT bid after a loss that should send the Razorbacks' RPI over 100.

The Razorbacks' 46 points were the fewest ever in an SEC Tournament game and the lowest in any conference tournament for Arkansas since a 39-38 win against Texas in the 1979 Southwest Conference Tournament.

Arkansas coach Stan Heath fell to 2-25 away from Bud Walton Arena in three seasons and his teams have lost three-first round SEC Tournament games by an average of 19.3 points.

The Razorbacks haven't won a first-round game in the SEC Tourney since 2001 and limp into the postseason with five losses in their last six.

"I hurt for my team," Heath said. "I do. I thought they came to this tournament with the right attitude. They came together as a group. I know that's where their hearts were today.

"Unfortunately, as we continued to miss shots and Tennessee came back and took a lead and it kept building, I could see our confidence getting down a little bit. The effects carried over to the defense and led to slippage here and there on offensive rebounds or penetration."

Tennessee had 22 offensive rebounds -- including six on one possession capped by two McFadgon free throws for a 53-31 lead -- and shot 41.8 percent (23 of 55) for the game.

Brandon Crump added 16 points and 7 rebounds, Andrew Patterson had a game-high 8 and no Razorback had more than Olu Famutimi's 5.

Darian Townes and Ronnie Brewer had 10 points each, Famutimi and Eric Ferguson added 8 apiece and no other Hog had more than 2.

The Razorbacks were 1 of 13 from the 3-point line and shot 19 of 49 (38.8 percent) from the floor.

Arkansas had a season-low four assists to 13 turnovers and missed 15 of 19 shots to close the first half after building a 13-8 lead and hitting 5 of 6 layups in the first 4:03.

"I don't know if it was the dome setting or what, but we really struggled shooting the ball," Heath said. "When you compound that with our inability to rebound and get those possessions back, we really hurt ourselves and didn't give ourselves a chance."

Take away Arkansas' 7 points on free throws and its 12 on the fast break and the Razorbacks scored 27 points in their halfcourt offense against Tennessee and its 2-3 zone.

"That was disappointing," Heath said. "We started off the year so well attacking zone defense.

"That's where I hurt the most for the guys. I know they're good players. I know they're capable of getting the job done. To see the confidence drop a little bit is why I hurt for them. I want to see them succeed and I don't think our last couple basketball games are a true reflection of our team and how we played the majority of the season."

Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson, who compared Tennessee's effective 2-3 zone against Arkansas during the first meeting (a 70-68 loss Feb. 26 in Fayetteville) to "swinging your 3-wood real good," switched from man after Rashard Sullivan scored on a layup to put Arkansas ahead 13-8 with 14 minutes to play in the first half.

Arkansas wouldn't score another field goal until a basket by Brewer with 4:39 to play cut the deficit to 29-17.

The Razorbacks turned it over three straight times after Tennessee switched to zone and missed 10 consecutive shots.

McFadgon -- who didn't play in the first game because of a bruised kneecap -- scored 15 of his 22 in the first half and knocked down 3 of 4 3-pointers.

He made all three of his triples in a five-minute span to put Tennessee ahead 32-18 and scored less than 10 seconds after Mike Jones made Arkansas' second field goal in more than 12 minutes to make it 34-20 with 90 seconds before halftime.

The Razorbacks cut it to 34-24 before intermission and to eight on a Townes dunk with 18:12 to play, but Arkansas wouldn't make another basket until Brewer converted a 3-point play to make it 49-31 at the 11:42 mark.

Ferguson, who has extended Arkansas' 544-game streak of at least one 3-pointer made three times this season (Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee), cut it to 53-34 with a 3-pointer with 9:40 to play, but Peterson was unfazed.

"I wasn't going to let one 3-pointer take us out of the zone," Peterson said.

Brewer said the Hogs tried to attack the zone but couldn't get what they wanted.

"We attacked (the zone) trying to penetrate and kick, but we weren't knocking down shots," he said. "We were hesitating and when we tried to get it inside, it led to turnovers.

"We got out of our game plan."

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