Wednesday, February 21

Tennessee basketball staves off second-half Arkansas comeback

Santiago Vescovi launched the basketball toward the rafters at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday. The Vols could finally exhale.

Tennessee basketball was the best version of itself against Arkansas on Saturday. It also was the worst version.

“We do have to get better,” Vols coach Rick Barnes said. “You guys saw that today. We showed that we can play great basketball.”

The Vols had a torrid start, turning a rowdy Thompson-Boling Arena crowd into a frenzied scene during the regular-season finale. Then they lost control in the second half, slipping twice and allowing a 24-point lead to tumble to two in the final minute.

But the Vols did what they’ve done all season: They won at home, topping Arkansas 78-74 to complete an unbeaten season in Knoxville. Tennessee clinched a second-place finish in the SEC and in the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament.

Kennedy Chandler and Vescovi had 15 points each for No. 13 Tennessee (23-7, 14-4 SEC).

JD Notae had 20 points for No. 15 Arkansas (24-7, 13-5). He missed a game-tying 3-pointer with less than 10 seconds to play, Arkansas’ final opportunity.

Tennessee was great when it was making 3-pointers

The Vols were 4-for-24 on 3-pointers in their 58-48 loss at Arkansas on Feb. 19.

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