Tennessee outlasts Arkansas; Jordan McRae scores 34 points

Kentucky guard Andrew Harrison (5) stops a layup attempt by guard Jordan McRae (52) during the second half at University of Kentucky's Rupp Arena in Lexington on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014. Tennessee lost 74-66. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Lau

Kentucky guard Andrew Harrison (5) stops a layup attempt by guard Jordan McRae (52) during the second half at University of Kentucky's Rupp Arena in Lexington on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014. Tennessee lost 74-66. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL)

Two teams with very troubling tendencies got together on Wednesday.

And after 10 ties and 15 lead changes, Tennessee – a team that has been incapable of turning in a complete game since it opened conference play at LSU on Jan. 7 – outlasted Arkansas – a squad that added yet another chapter to its book of on-the-road horror stories — to win an ugly yet crucial conference game.

It took a near career-best from UT senior guard Jordan McRae to turn the tide. He scored 34 points, one off his best, and UT (12-6, 3-2 SEC) beat Arkansas (12-6, 1-4) 81-74 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Things turned for good when Arkansas reserve guard Kikko Haydar was called for an intentional foul after swatting Jeronne Maymon’s arms during a shot. With the Vols trailing 68-66 with four minutes remaining, the senior forward stepped to the line and made both free throws. And when the Vols got the ball back underneath their own basket, McRae hit a corner 3-pointer that gave UT that last lead it would need. UT sealed the game at the free-throw line, where it made 30 of its 38 attempts.

Maymon added 17 points and nine rebounds, and provided an inside presence on a night when junior forward Jarnell Stokes struggled. Stokes finished with seven points and six rebounds. Josh Richardson (10 points) was the only other double-digit scorer for the Vols.

Ben Frederickson covers UT men’s basketball. Follow him at twitter.com/Ben_Fred

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Comments » 7

OrangePride writes:

A critical win and was anything but easy. Midway thru the second half, Arkansas looked to be in command and the Vols were totally out of sync. But Tennessee came back, got the lead and closed it out. And the crowd did little to help until McRae dropped that trey from the corner giviving the Vols the lead. Prior to that, TBA was museum-like. Another win against Florida on Saturday may help bring some fans back. But many have written off the season...a bit too soon in my view.

Chris_L75 writes:

At least museum patrons sometimes enjoy the exhibits. I've never seen such a morose gathering of 10,000. Both players and fans waiting for the other group to light a spark. And if it weren't for a flagrant foul and an opponent that may never win a road game, the spark would have been too late.

This program is taking on water, and those in power don't seem to mind much. Next season is what's really terrifying.

towmater writes:

Almost lost another one with turnovers and missed free throws in last two minutes. Painful to watch. That won't cut it against the good teams.

OrangePride writes:

A critical win and was anything but easy. Midway thru the second half, Arkansas looked to be in command and the Vols were totally out of sync. But Tennessee came back, got the lead and closed it out. And the crowd did little to help until McRae dropped that trey from the corner giviving the Vols the lead. Prior to that, TBA was museum-like. Another win against Florida on Saturday may help bring some fans back. But many have written off the season...a bit too soon in my view.

OrangePride writes:

Sorry. Don't know why that posted twice. Once was more than enough. lol.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to OrangePride:

Sorry. Don't know why that posted twice. Once was more than enough. lol.

It was but, IMHO, you were correct both times! I think the pattern for comments is set pretty much until the Vols' ultimate fate is determined. Every time they win a game, some people will complain about how they should have won by more, the opponent stank, the Vols got lucky, doesn't prove anything, etc., etc. If they lose a game, that will be ultimate proof that Martin stinks and Pearl would have never let that one get away, so fire Martin and hire Pearl NOW! If I had the time to assign acronyms for the above phrases, posters could save themselves a lot of typing by using my handy format...if, as I said, I had one!

OrangePride writes:

in response to johnlg00:

It was but, IMHO, you were correct both times! I think the pattern for comments is set pretty much until the Vols' ultimate fate is determined. Every time they win a game, some people will complain about how they should have won by more, the opponent stank, the Vols got lucky, doesn't prove anything, etc., etc. If they lose a game, that will be ultimate proof that Martin stinks and Pearl would have never let that one get away, so fire Martin and hire Pearl NOW! If I had the time to assign acronyms for the above phrases, posters could save themselves a lot of typing by using my handy format...if, as I said, I had one!

Exactly John. For many of our learned posters, Tennessee is in a darned if you do and darned if you don't situation. I am sorry to say that for at least some of them it is a case of their WANTING Tennessee to lose or do poorly this year so CCM is out as coach and Pearl or some other "favorite son" can be brought in. Reminds me of the environment in Dooley's last season. Sorry, I can't get behind that at all. These guys work too hard and sacrifice too much for me to root against them. And anyone who questions their heart and work have never spent even a day in that weight room or on that trainers table! So GO VOLS!!

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