These two SEC rivals opened conference play against each other on December 30th, where the Razorbacks came from behind and defeated the Volunteers 95-93 in overtime. March 10th, the Tennessee Volunteers sought revenge in the semifinal face-off. Revenge they got.
With the finals on their minds, each team came prepared to make it to Scottrade Center on Sunday, March 11th for the championship game. The Hogs knew that containing the Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield duo was critical to game success. The Razorbacks also knew that they were considered the underdogs going into this tournament, yet have shown everyone how impressive they can be, especially with their recent win over Florida on Friday. Against Tennessee, they’ve won each of the last six meetings and knew that the pressure was on. The Vols were picked near the bottom of the conference, yet surprised everyone as they finished second in the SEC, with a total record of 13-5. The game was truly in the Arkansas Razorbacks’ favor, but after having played two really late games in the past two days, fatigue got the best of them.
The first half was dominated by the Volunteers as they maintained a lead from tip-off to the half-time buzzer. The Vols love to lock it down early, and did so, with Jordan Bone leading the way with 17 points. With 8:37 left, Tennessee was making 92% of their shots, and had only missed 6 shots with 3:18 left. Despite playing good defense, the Hogs couldn’t keep up with the Volunteers overwhelmingly consistent offense. The Razorbacks lacked depth and tried to avoid a blowout, but their exhaust was overpowering as they remained behind, only making 38% of their shots as they left the first half with a 19 deficit to overcome in the 2nd.
The Hogs knew that they had to bring their game in the second half. And so they did. The Razorbacks showed a ton of fight, cutting their deficit to 11 several times, but couldn’t get close enough to tie it up. Once in an offensive rhythm, Tennesse is hard to stop. Unfortunately, the Hogs learned that the hard way today. Despite a tough showing by the Hogs, Tennesse maintained a lead the entire time, leaving Arkansas outplayed in every way.
Daryl Macon (19 points, 34 minutes) and Jaylen Barford (14 points, 29 minutes) led the way for the hard-fighting Razorbacks, while Jordan Bone (19 points, 29 minutes) and Admiral Schofield (16 points, 27 minutes) led the Volunteers to an 84-66 win.
Catch the Showdown between Kentucky and Tennessee for the SEC Tournament title on Sunday, March 11th at 1 PM ET!