Knoxville, TN-Jordan McRae scored a season-high 34 points including the final 13 points for the Vols to secure an 81-74 win over Arkansas on Wednesday night.
Arkansas (12-6, 1-4) had a well-balanced attack led by Coty Clarke’s 16. Rashad Madden (15), Fred Gulley (11) and Kikko Haydar (10) all scored in double-figures for the Razorbacks.
Down by two with three minutes remaining, Tennessee scored seven points in a row to take the lead it would never relinquish.
What amounted to a five-point play was the turning points of the game.
Maymon tied the game at 68 as he converted both free throws on a Haydar intentional foul with 2:52 remaining. Six seconds later McRae knocked down a 3-pointer to gave the Vols a 71-68 lead. That started that run of 13 Tennessee points in a row for the senior.
After an Arkansas missed shot, McRae made a pair of free throws to expand the Vols lead to five at 73-68 with a little more than two minutes remaining.
The Vols defense was stout in the five minutes of the game, limiting Arkansas to seven points and just two field goal on 10 attempts.
McRae sealed the game as he intercepted a pass by Clarke with 26 seconds remaining as Arkansas had a chance to close the gap to one. After being fouled, McRae calmed knocked down both free throws to put the Vols ahead by seven at 79-74.
McRae added two more foul shots to finish off the win. He made a career-high 12 free throws on 14 attempts.
It was a back-and-forth game that saw neither team lead more than eight points for the entire 40 minutes.
Arkansas went on an 11-0 run to open the largest lead of the game at 59-51 as Anthlon Bell knocked down a 3-pointer with just under 15 minutes left in the game. Jeronne Maymon ended the spurt with a jumper for the Vols.
Midway through the second half, Tennessee responded with an 8-0 run to tie the game at 63 all as Richardson knocked down his first 3-pointer of the game. The Vols buckled down on defense during the spurt, forcing the Hogs into five consecutive empty trips down the floor.
A high-paced first half saw the Vols grab a 39-37 lead. McRae led all scorers with 10 points. Tennessee took care of business at the foul line in the first half, making 15-of-17 shots.
Tennessee returns to action on Friday as the Vols travel to No. 6 Florida for a 4 p.m., matchup in Gainesville. The game vs. the Gators airs on ESPN and can he heard on the Vol Network. The Vols have beaten Florida in each of the last three games they have played.