Tennessee stood toe-to-toe with No. 25 Arkansas for forty minutes on Tuesday night but simply couldn’t get over the hump in the end. Here are five observations from Tennessee’s 69-64 loss to the Razorbacks.
Hubbs Huge: Donnie Tyndall drew up a gem that resulted in a wide open Hubbs look at what would have been a game-tying three. It wasn’t to be. Hubbs’ attempt hit every part of the run before rolling out and the Vols lost a close one. “Good pass. Good shot,” Tyndall said after the game. “I’ll let Robert have that shot every time. He’ll make the next one.”
Tennessee wouldn’t have even been in position to tie it at the end if not for a big game from the emerging sophomore. He had 15 points on 6-11 shooting and added four rebounds. Hubbs is averaging 10 points per game in SEC play – for a little context, Jordan McRae averaged 8.6 points per game as a sophomore. Hubbs’ continued development is vital to Tennessee’s success this season and for seasons to come.
Foul Trouble Derails Reese: Tennessee forward Derek Reese entered Tuesday’s game averaging over seven points and seven rebounds per game in conference play. Tuesday was not kind to Reese. He got in foul trouble early in the game and never recovered. Reese, in 19 minutes of play, was held scoreless for the first time this season. To his credit, he did manage to grab six rebounds. Tennessee’s bigs committed eight fouls and scored just four points.
Richardson Back on Track: Josh Richardson failed to reach his season average in his previous three outings and looked weary in UT’s loss to Texas A&M on Saturday. He bounced back to score 17 points on 7-13 shooting against Arkansas. Even more impressive, he had six assists, two steals and a lone turnover in 38 minutes of action.
Vols Win Turnover Battle: The Razorbacks make a living off creating turnovers and converting them into easy baskets, but the Volunteers won both categories on Tuesday. Tennessee converted 18 Arkansas turnovers into 19 big points. Though they forced only two more turnovers than they committed, the Vols outscored the Razorbacks 19-10 in points off turnovers.
Tennessee Narrowly Misses Resume Road Win: Arkansas is a supremely talented team that plays well at home. When the dust settles, they’ll probably prove to be the SEC’s No. 2 team. And the Vols just missed knocking them off. Close losses sting and the Vols had multiple opportunities to beat Arkansas. Shots rimed out, layups didn’t quite fall and the ball simply seemed to bounce the way of the Razorbacks. A win would have seriously bolstered Tennessee’s resume, but the fact we’re even talking about Tennessee’s resume at this point in the season is shocking.
Final stats: pic.twitter.com/MBKoNRzHJM
— Rocky Top Insider (@rockytopinsider) January 28, 2015