• Dennis McCaslin

Razorbacks take overtime win over Tennessee in Bud Walton classic

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In an absolute thriller, the Arkansas men’s basketball team opened Southeastern Conference play Saturday, overcoming a late deficit to overtake the No. 19 Tennessee Volunteers 95-93 in overtime in front of a sold-out Bud Walton Arena.

Down nine with 3:53 to go in the second half, the Razorbacks used a 12-3 run to force overtime. Arkansas would go on a 16-5 run, including scoring 12 straight to claim its largest lead of the game at 11. Tennessee would do its best to claw back, getting as close as two, but Arkansas would hang on to the victory to remain undefeated in Bud Walton Arena this season.

Senior guards Daryl Macon and Jaylen Barford both had career days. Macon recorded his second 30-point effort of his career, finishing with a career-high 33, while Barford posted a career-high 28. The duo were clutch down the stretch combining for 31 of Arkansas’ final 41 points. It is the first time in program history that Arkansas had two players score 28-plus points in the same Southeastern Conference game.

Arkansas improved to 36-23 all-time against AP Top 25 in Bud Walton Arena, including 28-16 against top 20 teams.

The Volunteers started out hot from the field, hitting five of their first six shots from behind the arc, but Arkansas kept it close thanks to its defense creating turnovers in the back court. With 7:53 left in the first half, the Hogs only trailed by three, after forcing five Volunteer turnovers in the a five minute stretch.

Trailing nearly the entire first half, Arkansas went on a 10-2 run to tie the contest at 26-26 with 4:45 left to play in the frame with a three by Macon. Part of that run included this impressive play by Macon to save a pass out of bounds to sophomore guard C.J. Jones, who finished with a lay-up.

Tennessee would finish the half on a 12-5 run to take a seven-point lead into the half. Macon would score 11 of Arkansas’ final 15 points of the half, including a much needed three right before the buzzer to cut the Tennessee lead to 38-31. Macon led the Razorbacks at the break with a game-high 13 points. It is the first time this season that the Razorbacks have trailed at the break at home.

The Vols would stretch their lead back to nine, before Arkansas went on an 8-0 run to claw back to a one-point game at 46-45. Tennessee would use a 6-0 run shortly after to stretch its leads back to nine. Anytime the Razorbacks went on a small run, the Vols would answer with a big play.

Down eight, that is when the Bud Walton Arena magic took place. Macon drilled a three in transition to cut the game to five, before Barford stole the inbounds pass and freshman forward Daniel Gafford would get an offensive rebound off a Barford miss and finish to cut the lead to deficit to three.

Arkansas would force overtime, where it scored the most points in program history (22) in the extra frame to defeat the Volunteers.

The Razorbacks take the show on the road for their next two games, as Arkansas travels to Starkville, Mississippi to face the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Tuesday at 8 p.m. on the SEC Network, before traveling to Auburn next Saturday for a match-up with the Tigers at 5 p.m. on ESPNU.