Feb. 4, 2009
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Bobby Maze helped Tennessee salvage an uneven first half -- then at the end of the second, the ball was back in his hands.
Maze made a midrange shot from the left wing with 5.4 seconds left -- his only points of the second half -- to give Tennessee a 74-72 win over Arkansas on Wednesday night.
"He just drove it and got it to the spot," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. "I like how Bobby is playing aggressively offensively."
Maze's shot capped a wild final minute. J.P. Prince put the Volunteers (14-7, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) ahead 72-70 on a tip-in with 39.1 seconds remaining. After a timeout, Courtney Fortson tied it with a driving, left-handed layup with 11 seconds left.
Tennessee rushed the ball into the frontcourt and Maze was able to get a good look at the basket. He finished with 13 points.
"It came down to one shot and they made it," Fortson said. "It was good basketball."
Arkansas (13-7, 1-6) had one more chance, but Stefan Welsh missed, and Michael Washington's follow attempt from right under the basket was off as well.
"Stefan did what he was supposed to do," Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. "He drove it to the basket."
Wayne Chism led the Vols with 22 points. He also had nine rebounds. Welsh scored 22 points for Arkansas.
Arkansas led 35-33 after a first half in which the teams traded offensive slumps. Tennessee led 8-1 before going 6:32 without a point. The Razorbacks took advantage with a 16-0 run, but the Vols answered with 12 straight points of their own, including an acrobatic, two-handed dunk on a breakaway by Scotty Hopson.
Welsh scored 13 points in the half, and Maze led Tennessee with 11. Maze was 4-of-5 from the field in the first half but attempted only two shots in the second.
"We're very fortunate to come out of here with a win," Pearl said.
Tennessee started the second half with a 9-0 run, but the Razorbacks quickly rallied. Arkansas led 54-49 when Tennessee's Tyler Smith had to call timeout when he was stuck with the ball near midcourt with 9:59 to play. From that point on, the Volunteers exploited Arkansas inside. Chism made a couple quick layups, and Tennessee eventually pulled ahead 64-61.
"The area that Arkansas is not very deep is in the front line," Pearl said. "We just felt like we had an advantage on the inside."
Fortson tied it at 64 with a 3-pointer, and neither team led by more than two the rest of the way.
Washington finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Fortson scored 19 points. Smith scored 16 for Tennessee.
Arkansas has lost six of seven since beating Texas at home Jan. 6. The Razorbacks lost several key players from last season's team that went to the second round of the NCAA tournament, and Pelphrey played only seven players Wednesday.
Tennessee played 11.
"Playing 10 to 11 guys allowed us to be a little more fresh," Chism said. "I think that was the difference down the stretch."
The ending was reminiscent of the teams' last meeting, in the 2008 SEC tournament. Arkansas' Steven Hill made a turnaround jumper with 5.3 seconds remaining -- his only points of that entire game -- to give the Razorbacks a 92-91 victory over the Vols.