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Second half surge leads to win over Arkansas for No. 9 Vols

Photo Credit: Tennessee Athletics

No. 9 Tennessee stormed back in the second half of Wednesday night’s game against Arkansas to defeat the Razorbacks 79-74 inside of Thompson-Boling Arena.

The Vols (8-1, 2-1 SEC) erased a seven-point halftime deficit to outscore the Hogs 46-34 to get back in the win column after losing their first game of the season to Alabama over the weekend.

Four players reached double-figures for the Vols. Josiah-Jordan James and Victor Bailey Jr. led the way with 17 points apiece, while John Fulkerson chipped in 16 points and Keon Johnson had 15 points, respectively.

12 of Fulkerson’s 16 points came in the second half. The fifth-senior came out of halftime on fire, scoring nine of Tennessee’s first 11 points in the final frame to erase the Razorback lead. Following a Jaden Springer corner three, the Vols led 47-46 with 12:45 remaining.

Tennessee extended its lead to 56-51 before Arkansas’ JD Notae converted a four-point play to cut the lead to two with 10:13 remaining. Notae then converted a layup to give the Hogs a one-point lead.

The two teams traded buckets for much of the remainder of the second half until Tennessee went on a 12-4 run to take a 68-61 lead with 6:26 to go. UT seemed to be pulling away but Arkansas went on a 6-0 run to get right back into the game.

Johnson, making his first career start as a Vol, proceeded to make six crucial free throws despite the Razorbacks continuing to knock down crucial shots to remain in the game. Santiago Vescovi also knocked down two crucial free throws to help put the game away.

The Vols held Arkansas to 48.1% shooting in the second half after the Hogs shot 57.1% in the first half. Tennessee forced 20 turnovers in the game that led to 19 points.

UT’s offensive struggles in the first half led to the halftime deficit. The Vols shot well below 40% the majority of the game and was 2-of-10 from the three-point line. They were out-rebounded 23-10.

Tennessee now turns its attention to Texas A&M (6-2, 1-1 SEC0. The Vols will travel to College State this weekend for a 2 p.m. tipoff with the Aggies on Saturday.

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