With Tennessee clinging to a scant 73-70 lead, Smith fed fellow freshman Wayne Chism for a dunk. After Chris Lofton made a driving layup off a sidecourt inbounds play, Smith made perhaps the game's biggest play – swatting a loose ball to JaJuan Smith for a layup that produced a 79-70 lead with just 1:02 remaining.
Appropriately, Ramar Smith punctuated Tennessee's first SEC road win in seven tries by scoring the game's final points on a tip-in.
The Vols, now 20-9 overall and 8-6 in league play, surely wrapped up a bid to the NCAA Tournament with the win.
On his post-game radio show, UT coach Bruce Pearl recalled telling his players prior to the game: "Win it, we're in it."
Pearl now has 14 seasons of 20 or more wins in his 15 years as a head coach. Arkansas slips to 16-12 and 5-9 with the loss.
Chris Lofton paced the Vol offense with 31 points, hitting 10 of 19 from the field, 4 of 12 from beyond the arc and 7 of 8 from the foul line. JaJuan Smith chipped in 16 points and Wayne Chism 14. Ramar Smith finished with 9 points, 5 assists and just 1 turnover in 26 minutes at the point.
Tennessee used the same formula Saturday against Arkansas that worked so well against Bama on Wednesday night: Force a bunch of turnovers and take a bunch of shots. The Vols forced 23 turnovers and took 23 more shots (72-49) than the Razorbacks. Against Alabama UT forced 26 turnovers and took 26 more shots (81-55).
"We couldn't play good to win this game; we had to play great," Pearl said. "The kids played one of the best games of the year."
This was a game of spurts. Tennessee used an 11-0 spurt to go up 11-2. Arkansas answered with a 9-0 spurt moments later to pull even at 13-all. An 11-2 Vol run produced a 28-17 lead but the Razorbacks closed the half with a 19-5 run that produced a 36-33 intermission lead. A 3-pointer by Lofton gave Tennessee a 69-57 lead with 6:52 to play but Arkansas pulled within three, setting up Ramar Smith's late heroics.
Lofton scored 16 of Tennessee's 33 first-half points, single-handedly keeping the Vols in the game for a while.
"Five kind of put us on his back there," Pearl said, referring to Lofton's jersey number. "The opponent's got to go ‘uh-oh' when he's going like that."
Tennessee hosts defending national champ Florida Tuesday night at 9. ESPN will have the telecast.