Arkansas rallied late in the second half to force overtime and ultimately knocked off No. 19 Tennessee as the Razorbacks came away with a 95-93 SEC home win on Saturday afternoon.
It looked like the Volunteers had this game in control as they led by nine points with 3:53 left in the game. Then the wheels came off for Tennessee. Arkansas (11-2, 1-0) used some hot and timely shooting from senior guards Jaylen Barford and Daryl Macon to make a furious comeback and force the extra five minutes.
Macon (33 points) and Barford (28 points) took it from there as the duo carried an Arkansas team that doesn’t have a particularly deep bench. Macon and Barford both went 10-for-18 from the field on Saturday while combining to go 15-for-16 from the free-throw line. Freshman big man Daniel Gafford also continued to make some eye-opening plays for the Razorbacks as he finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and five blocks.
Arkansas has quietly put together a decent tournament resume so far — including the win on Saturday. As Trae Young fever sweeps the nation, the Razorback win over Oklahoma continues to look better while another win over Minnesota is also looking really solid. If it weren’t for a puzzling blowout loss to Houston, Arkansas would likely be a top-25 team by now.
Tennessee (9-3, 0-1) still doesn’t have any bad losses this season, but a chance to earn a tough road win at a place like Arkansas is a big missed opportunity for the Vols. Jordan Bone led a balanced Tennessee scoring effort with 21 points, but to lose a nine-point lead in the last four minutes is really concerning.
Considering that Tennessee also blew a late second-half lead in its loss to North Carolina and this is a trend that the Vols want to break. Tennessee has proven that they’re a tournament-caliber team. They also have an issue with closing out games and that will be something to monitor over the next several weeks. Arkansas had superior guard play down the stretch in this one and Tennessee’s guards still have to prove themselves against strong opposing backcourts.