When Arkansas beat Tennessee 70-68 in Bud Walton Arena on Feb. 26, the Volunteers played without 6-foot-5 senior guard Scooter McFadgon, who missed four games because of a severe leg bruise.
McFadgon returned for the Vols' regular season finale win (70-68) against Georgia, scoring 12 points in 23 minutes.
Against Arkansas in Thursday night's first-round Southeastern Conference Tournament matchup, McFadgon came back full-force, scoring a game-high 22 points in Tennessee's 65-46 runaway win.
"Having McFadgon back in that lineup really made a difference," said Arkansas coach Stan Heath.
Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson said he had been worried about the shape McFadgon was in, but saw signs of this coming earlier this week.
"Monday and Tuesday, when we really went at it, he was moving much better," Peterson said.
Tennessee's leading scorer with a 14-point average, McFadgon was so anxious to get on the Georgia Dome floor Thursday night that he stumbled and fell as he reached it, almost losing his sweatpants in the process.
But nothing - or no Hog - could keep him down.
McFadgon hit 6 of 10 first-half shots (including 3 of 4 treys) for 15 points. He almost single-handedly turned the game around with Tennessee nursing a 19-15 lead.
His drive made it 21-15 and consecutive McFadgon 3-pointers pushed the Volunteers up 29-15.
"I hit two in a row and I was in a rhythm," McFadgon said. "But since I hadn't played in so long, I was tired."
For the game, McFadgon was 8 of 17 (4 of 7 treys) with 7 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal.
"It felt great," McFadgon said. "It's been an up-and-down season for me all year, but before the game Coach told us it's a new season, so we have to put last season in the past and just come on out and play."
Said Peterson: "To see him hit those shots tonight, just happy to see it. Puts another bounce in his step. Scooter just hit some big buckets and got his confidence going.
"I was hoping he had it in him and I'm glad he showed it tonight."
Last Shot For Jones?
Unless Arkansas nets a National Invitation Tournament bid, which is not a given at this point, Hogs senior forward Michael Jones played his last game as a Razorback.
The 6-9 Jones played 10 minutes and scored 2 points as he was 1 of 5 from the floor (0 for 3 treys). He didn't register another statistic.
A Little Rock Parview grad, Jones redshirted his first season before averaging 4.6 points as a freshman. The 3-point specialist averaged 5.3 points as a sophomore and 4.8 his junior season.
This season, Jones averaged 4.1 points and started four games.
He's the only senior on the Hogs' roster.
As Eric Ferguson walked to the free-throw line late in the first half, the Georgia Dome public address announcer credited the foul to Sammy Munsey.
Munsey, of course, is a walk-on benchwarmer for the Hogs.
Tennessee's Scooter McFadgon committed the foul.
He and Munsey both wear No. 2, but the uniform colors are a stark contrast.
Tennessee's Chris Lofton came into Thursday night's game with 89 3-pointers, the most ever by an SEC freshman (LSU's Chris Jackson is second with 84 in the 1988-89 season and Arkansas' Pat Bradley is fourth with 82 in 1995-96).
His 30 points in this season's loss at Arkansas were the most for a Tennessee freshman since Allan Houston scored 31 against Vanderbilt in the 1990 NIT.
Lofton came into this matchup with 22 treys in his last four games while averaging 23.5 points. He ranked second in SEC 3-point shooting and fifth nationally with a 47.1 percent average.
This time around against Arkansas (which initially recruited the Maysville, Ky., native), Lofton hit 2 of 3 treys and scored 8 points in 29 minutes.
Along with Arkansas center Darian Townes, Lofton is a member of the SEC's All-Freshman team.
Tennessee's 22 offensive rebounds against Arkansas set a Volunteers postseason record.
Tennessee now leads 11-10 and the Volunteers have won five of the last six matchups against Arkansas.
Arkansas still leads the series 4-3 at neutral sites.
Scooter Gives Vols A Kick-Start
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