The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
Bud Walton Arena - Fayetteville, AR

Portis, Qualls lead Arkansas past Tennessee

1756 days ago
Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The top scoring duo in the Southeastern Conference helped Arkansas once again find a way to win a close game.

Bobby Portis had 17 points and eight rebounds as Arkansas atoned for an earlier loss with a 69-64 win over Tennessee on Tuesday night.

The win is the third straight for the Razorbacks (16-4, 5-2 SEC), who are off to their best 20-game start since going 17-3 to open the 1997-98 season. It's also Arkansas' third straight win by five points or less.

Arkansas lost 74-69 in Knoxville two weeks ago, but it rallied in the return matchup behind Portis and Michael Qualls -- who scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half.

Alandise Harris and Anton Beard each added 10 points for the Razorbacks.

The loss in the first on the road in conference play for the Volunteers, who were trying to improve to 4-0 away from home in the SEC for the first time since 1982. Josh Richardson led Tennessee (12-7, 4-3) with 17 points. Robert Hubbs added 15, Armani Moore 12 and Kevin Punter 10.

Tennessee, which harassed Arkansas into a season-high 18 turnovers two weeks ago, led 50-45 midway through the second half after a 3-pointer by Detrick Mostella.

Led by Qualls, the Razorbacks responded with a 9-0 run to take a 54-50 lead. Qualls, who struggled with just three points in the first half, had the final six points of the run -- including a 3-pointer to give Arkansas its largest lead since opening the game on a 7-0 run.

The Razorbacks led 67-62 in the closing minutes, but Tennessee cut the lead to 67-64 after an inside basket by Richardson.

Hubbs then had a chance to tie the game, but his 3-point attempt bounced off the rim and was corralled with 2.3 seconds remaining by Qualls -- who was fouled and hit two free throws to secure Arkansas' win.

Arkansas committed a season-high 18 turnovers in the earlier loss at Tennessee two weeks ago. The Razorbacks once again struggled to hold onto the ball in the first half on Tuesday, committing nine first-half turnovers, but it was the Volunteers 21-13 rebounding edge that helped them to a 37-35 halftime lead.

Hubbs, who had a career-high 16 points in the earlier win over Arkansas, had 12 of his points in the first half.

The Razorbacks once again matched their season high with 18 turnovers against the Volunteers, but they closed the halftime rebounding gap and finished the game tied 31-31 on rebounds.

TIP-INS

Tennessee: The Volunteers had won eight of their last 10 games, and they were seeking coach Donnie Tyndall's 100th win as a head coach.

Arkansas: Beard, who missed three free throws with 5.1 seconds remaining that would have tied the earlier game with Tennessee, scored all of his points in the first half. The freshman has now scored in double figures in three of the last five games for the Razorbacks.

UP NEXT

Tennessee returns home to host Auburn and former coach Bruce Pearl on Saturday.

Arkansas travels to Florida in Saturday.