Loss to Vols is bitter in contrast to sweet victory in football

Tennessee guard Trae Golden (11) shoots a layup during the first half against Arkansas at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012.  (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Tennessee guard Trae Golden (11) shoots a layup during the first half against Arkansas at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

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I have to say that it was a sweet victory that the Hogs had over the Vols in football back in November. The history of Tennessee v. Arkansas football series had been one-sided towards the Vols, and my son Wilson and I traveled up to Fayetteville because we smelled a Hog victory coming.

This basketball game last night was a different case altogether. We got smoked from the first few minutes till the end of the game. I wish it could have been different but it wasn’t. Maybe the Hogs can get something going on the road during the last two games on the road(Auburn and Miss St). It appears that Tennessee has got something going and unless they hit a bump in the road they may be hard for the Hogs to pass up in the standings.

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Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin calls a play during the first half against Arkansas at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012.  (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin calls a play during the first half against Arkansas at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

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Vols rout Arkansas, 77-58

Rout puts Vols in tie for 4th place in SEC

By Mike Griffith

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tennessee played like a team that wanted to make a statement Wednesday night.

Arkansas got the Vols’ message, loud and clear.

“We feel like we can beat any team,” UT freshman Jarnell Stokes said. “We feel like we should win out. There’s no way we should lose any more games.”

The Vols displayed that sort of swagger from the onset, winning their fourth straight with a 77-58 men’s basketball victory over the Razorbacks before a crowd of 16,048 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

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Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson calls to his players as they take on Tennessee during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012.  (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson calls to his players as they take on Tennessee during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

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The triumph moves UT (14-12, 6-5 SEC) into a tie for fourth place in the SEC with Mississippi State (19-7, 6-5).

Tennessee hit nine of its first 10 shots, fueling a 19-0 run that led to a 47-30 lead at the half. Arkansas (17-9, 5-6) didn’t get closer than 10 points for the rest of the game, falling to 0-8 on the road.

UT sophomore Jordan McRae came off the bench to score 14 points, as the Vols went to a four-guard lineup at times to effectively combat the Razorbacks’ pressure defense.

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Tennessee forward Jordan McRae (52) shoots over Arkansas guard Rickey Scott (3) during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012.  (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Tennessee forward Jordan McRae (52) shoots over Arkansas guard Rickey Scott (3) during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

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Arkansas abandoned its press, and UT finished with 14 turnovers while the Razorbacks had 18.

Tennessee played without junior center Kenny Hall, who Martin said has been suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team.

“You’ve got to do the right things on and off the court — that’s the bottom line,” said Martin, adding that Hall would neither practice nor travel with the team during his suspension.

Stokes started in Hall’s place, as the Vols used their fifth different lineup since the beginning of the SEC season, improving to 5-0 in those games.

Trae Golden scored 13 points and had seven assists, Skylar McBee and Jeronne Maymon each had 12 points, Cam Tatum had 11 points and nine rebounds, and Stokes finished with 10 points.

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Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes (5) shoots over Arkansas forward Hunter Mickelson (21) while guard Brandon Mitchell (25) defends during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012.  (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes (5) shoots over Arkansas forward Hunter Mickelson (21) while guard Brandon Mitchell (25) defends during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

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“Our success starts with Trae Golden,” Vols coach Cuonzo Martin said. “He has done a really good job taking that leadership as the point guard and running the offense. He’s directing traffic, running the offense.

“Once he took that step and we became a better defensive team, I thought we had a chance to be pretty good.”

Golden left the game for a few minutes in the second half after twisting his ankle, but he returned to play and Martin said it won’t affect his status.

Arkansas, led by BJ Young’s 18 points, used a 6-1 run to close to 60-50 with 8:29 left on a Brandon Mitchell basket.

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Tennessee guard Cameron Tatum (23) swipes the ball from Arkansas guard BJ Young (11) during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012.  (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer, copyright © 2012

Tennessee guard Cameron Tatum (23) swipes the ball from Arkansas guard BJ Young (11) during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

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McBee, who was 4-of-7 shooting the three, answered with a 3-pointer as UT came back with a 14-3 run of its own to put the game out of reach.

The Vols hit 11 3-pointers — their most since connecting on 12 on Jan. 31, 2009, in a 61-60 win over Florida — and led by as many as 24 points in the first half when Stokes scored on a put-back to make it 47-23 at the 3:57 mark.

The Razorbacks closed the half on a 7-0 run to narrow the margin.

UT’s pivotal 19-0 run was triggered by a Tatum jumper at the 17:33 mark. Tatum closed the outburst, too, scoring on a drive at the 13:29 mark that made it 23-6.

“We’re getting a vibe for each other, a good chemistry for each other, how and where each person likes the ball,” said Tatum, who was 5-of-12 shooting. “We just have to keep playing for each other and playing collective defense.

“We’re in that groove right now.”

Tennessee returns to action at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at Alabama (16-9, 5-6) in Coleman Coliseum.

The Crimson Tide has dropped two straight but is 10-3 at home this season and owns a 41-17 advantage over the Vols in Tuscaloosa.

Mike Griffith covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at http://twitter.com/MikeGriffith32

 

 

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