The Tennessee men’s basketball team lost a close game at home Tuesday night against Arkansas 82-78. The Vols jumped out to a 13 point lead in the first half, but the lead disappeared quickly just before halftime. Tennessee remained close throughout the entire second half. However, they struggled to regain the lead after the break and always stayed one or two possessions behind. Arkansas made their free throws down the stretch of the game which allowed them to hold on for the nail biting victory.
Robert Hubbs III led the Vols with a brilliant game. Hubbs finished with 21 points on 9-14 shooting. He also added 7 rebounds to his stat line. Detrick Mostella continued his strong start to SEC play with 16 points and four rebounds off the bench. Grant Williams also impressed yet again with a double double. Williams recorded 15 points and 11 rebounds. Williams is having an excellent freshmen season for Coach Rick Barnes.
A variety of reasons usually determines who wins a basketball game. Last night’s game was fairly straightforward. Arkansas simply made more shots at a higher percentage than Tennessee. Arkansas shot 50% from the field overall and 45.5% from 3pt territory. Conversely, the Vols shot just 39% from the field and a ghastly 26% from downtown. Tennessee will struggle to win any conferences games, at home or on the road, with those shooting numbers.
I mentioned in my previous recap that Tennessee needs Lamonte Turner to play well in order to win SEC games. Turner struggled mightily last night. He finished with just 5 points and 2 assists. This is Turner’s first season playing for the Vols, so growing pains are understandable. He shows flashes of being a solid starter for Tennessee for the next several years. However, Tennessee will struggle to overcome poor point guard performances like the one Tuesday night.
Tennessee (8-6) travels to Florida (11-3) Saturday January 7 for a conference showdown. Tipoff is set for 5:15 ET. The game can be watched on ESPN 2. Go Vols and beat the Gators!