KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Mike Anderson finally got what he wanted to see Tuesday night.
“The effort tonight was unbelievable,” he told his players after Arkansas had beaten Tennessee 82-78. “That’s the team I’ve been waiting for.”
Anton Beard scored 16 points and the Razorbacks hit their free throws down the stretch to erase an early 13-point deficit and outlast the Volunteers, 82-78.
Arkansas (12-2, 1-1 SEC) has beaten Tennessee (8-6, 1-1) five straight times for the longest winning streak by either team in the 38-game history of this series.
The Volunteers trailed 71-64 with 2:52 left when Arkansas’ Moses Kingsley missed the front end of a one-and-one to set the stage for a Tennessee rally. Tennessee got to within 71-70 with 1:50 remaining when Robert Hubbs dunked on a fast break after Grant Williams blocked a Kingsley shot on the other end of the floor.
Tennessee cut the lead to one again on Detrick Mostella’s 3-point play with 24.7 seconds left, but Daryl Macon went 6 of 6 on free throws the rest of the way to seal the victory.
Arkansas shot 11 of 12 from the line over the final 1:31 of the game.
Macon scored 15 points, as he made only one basket but was 12 of 13 on free throws. Jaylen Barford scored 14 points and Dusty Hannahs added 13.
Robert Hubbs III scored 21 points and Mostella had 16 for Tennessee. Williams added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The first half alone featured seven lead changes and two major momentum swings.
Tennessee grabbed a 39-26 lead late in the first half by going on a 14-0 run as Arkansas went scoreless for a stretch of 5 minutes, 20 seconds. Arkansas responded by reeling off 15 straight points in a spurt that began in the last three minutes of the first half and carried over to the opening minute of the second half.
THE BIG PICTURE
Arkansas: The 15-0 run that allowed Arkansas to take control of this game shouldn’t have come as a surprise. The Razorbacks have thrived on these kinds of spurts all season. Arkansas entered this game having scored at least 10 straight points on 13 different occasions this year.
Tennessee: The Vols held Kingsley in check, as the SEC preseason player of the year had just seven points to go along with 10 rebounds and shot 3 of 10 from the floor. But a balanced Arkansas attack proved too much for the Vols to handle.
Arkansas visits No. 6 Kentucky on Saturday.
Tennessee is at No. 24 Florida on Saturday.