- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Arkansas didn’t play with its customary energy Tuesday until it was facing a double-digit deficit in the closing minutes.

The 19th-ranked Razorbacks almost found a way to win anyhow.

Josh Richardson scored 20 points and Tennessee withstood a furious Arkansas comeback to hang on for a 74-69 victory that snapped the Razorbacks’ seven-game winning streak.

“I thought it was a good lesson for us,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. “You have to show up every night to play. I thought our energy level was not where it needed to be against a scrappy Tennessee team.”

After trailing by 13 points with under four minutes left, Arkansas (13-3, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) cut the margin to three and had a chance to tie the game when Anton Beard was fouled by Kevin Punter with 5.1 seconds remaining. Punter was trying to foul before Beard could attempt a potential game-tying 3-pointer, but the freshman guard put up the shot just as he was drawing contact.

“The play at the end, that is on me,” Tennessee coach Donnie Tyndall said. “I should have had them foul before (they got to) halfcourt.”

Tennessee (10-5, 2-1) escaped because Beard missed all three of his ensuing free throws. Armani Moore clinched the victory by sinking two free throws with 3.7 seconds remaining.

“I told (Beard) he got us in that position, that he was going to learn from it and I was proud of him,” Anderson said.

Tennessee won despite shooting just 14 of 26 from the line, including 12 of 22 in the second half. The Volunteers led by 16 midway through the second half.

Robert Hubbs had a career-high 16 points and Moore added 14 for Tennessee. Richardson, Hubbs and Moore shot a combined 20 of 26.

Bobby Portis scored 17, Michael Qualls had 15 and Beard added a career-high 12 for Arkansas, which committed a season-high 18 turnovers.

“Our turnovers just really killed us today,” Portis said. “I don’t feel like it was our effort. I felt as though almost everyone on our team gave effort. I just felt our turnovers led to easy baskets.”

Tennessee was coming off a 56-38 loss to Alabama in which the Vols were held without a basket for a stretch of over 14 minutes in the second half. The Vols’ defense helped their offense bounce back from that dreadful performance.

The Vols shot 51 percent (27 of 53) and outscored Arkansas 27-15 in points off turnovers. Arkansas had entered the night leading the SEC in turnover margin.

“They did some of the things we normally do to people and that’s turn them over,” Anderson said. “That was a big statistic in the game, they turned us over and turned those turnovers into points. I’m very disappointed in our guys for not taking care of the ball, but I was proud we didn’t just wilt.”

TIP-INS

Arkansas: The Razorbacks had been seeking to match their best start in SEC competition. Arkansas won its first three SEC games in 1992-93 and 1997-98.

Tennessee: The Vols used their eighth different starting lineup of the season. Junior forward Derek Reese and Hubbs moved into starting roles, with Punter and freshman forward Willie Carmichael coming off the bench.

STAT LINES

Beard had been 9 of 14 from the free-throw line this season before missing those three attempts at the end of the game. He had made his only free-throw attempt Tuesday before those three misses. … Tennessee entered the night shooting 66.8 percent from the foul line to rank 10th out of 14 SEC teams. The Vols had made 75.8 percent of their free throws in their first two conference games.

NEXT UP

Arkansas: Hosts Mississippi on Saturday

Tennessee: At Missouri on Saturday

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