No. 23 Arkansas won its 11th game out of 12 and beat a ranked team for the third time this season with a 58-48 victory over a cold, No. 16 Tennessee in front of 19,200 at a full Bud Walton Arena Saturday afternoon in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The Razorbacks (20-6, 10-4 SEC) will draw another ranked team on Saturday when No. 4 Kentucky (22-5, 11-3 SEC) visits Fayetteville for a noon eastern game on CBS. Kentucky handled No. 25 Alabama, 90-81, on Saturday at home. An unranked Arkansas just beat then-No. 1 Auburn, 80-76, in overtime on Feb. 8 at home.
Forward Jaylin Williams led Arkansas with 16 points and 13 rebounds along with two assists, a steal and a blocked shot. Guard J.D. Notae added 13 before fouling out with 3:05 to play and Arkansas up 51-44, but Tennessee (19-7, 10-4 SEC) was unable to take advantage of Notae’s absence. The Volunteers finished with a season-low points.
Arkansas shot just 30 percent from the floor (18 of 59) and 22 percent from 3-point range (5 of 22), but its aggressive defense won the day and forced 15 turnovers to 10 by the Hogs.
“We’re not always cosmetically pleasing offensively, but, man, do we play hard,” Arkansas coach Eric Musselman said. “Nobody plays harder in the country than this team right now.”
Guard Zakai Zeigler led Tennessee with 12 points, and guard Kennedy Chandler added 11. The Volunteers, who knocked off Kentucky 76-63 on Tuesday, had won eight straight SEC games. Their last league loss was on Jan. 15 at Kentucky.
The game was close until Arkansas made an 11-1 run down the stretch to pull away.
Tennessee shot 27 percent from the field (16 of 59) and 16 percent from 3-point range (4 of 24). The Razorbacks held Tennessee leading scorer Santiago Vescovi to six points below his average as he scored seven on 2-of-13 shooting with 11 rebounds. He was 1 of 9 from 3-point range.
Tennessee plays at Missouri at 7 p.m. Tuesday on the SEC Network. Arkansas is at Florida at 5 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN2.
In other games Saturday, Ole Miss won 85-68 at Georgia, and South Carolina won 77-75 at home against LSU, which saw its three-game win streak end.
“What we are doing right now is not easy,” Musselman said. “I’m overly pleased with how we’re playing.”