WHY ARKANSAS WON: Arkansas continued to thrive at home, leaning on its defense and depth to outlast Tennessee in Bud Walton Arena. The Razorbacks were successful in dictating the pace in spurts Saturday, getting out in transition against a Tennessee team determined to slow the game on the road. The proof: Arkansas’ 73 points against the Vols was the most Tennessee had allowed in four games.
WHY TENNESSEE LOST: The Volunteers played without injured point guard Trae Golden and his absence was felt. Tennessee turned the ball over 20 times and the Razorbacks converted the mistakes into 27 points. One stretch summed up the afternoon. Tennessee trailed by 10 at halftime and turned it over on the first four possessions of the second half. It helped Arkansas take a 16-point lead.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Arkansas guard BJ Young started Saturday’s game on the bench, but proved to be a pivotal performer. The guard scored a game-high 19 points on 9 of 15 shooting, using his quickness to get out in transition and slip by Tennessee defenders in the half court for layups. Young even went 2-for-3 from behind the 3-point line, snapping an 0-for-13 slump over the previous four games.
STAT OF THE GAME: Arkansas forward Michael Qualls grabbed a career-best 11 rebounds in his first start Saturday. The forward was active on the glass throughout his career-high 31 minutes. Two highlights: Qualls followed one missed shot with a dunk in the first half. He also ripped a rebound away from a Tennessee defender in the second half, turned and recorded another crowd-pleasing dunk in the win.
QUOTE OF THE GAME: “He wasn’t in awe or anything about it. He took his practice to the game. That tells me he’s in-tune with what is taking place with this basketball team.” – Anderson on Qualls’ reaction after finding out he was starting Saturday.
INTRODUCING BRET BIELEMA: Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema received a standing ovation when he was introduced during a timeout in the first half Saturday. Bielema was handed a microphone and addressed the crowd, saying “we didn’t come here to play in the SEC. We came to win the SEC.” Arkansas is putting the final touches on its 2013 signing class. National signing day is Wednesday.
NOLAN PAINTING UNVEILED: A painting of Nolan Richardson holding the 1993-94 national championship trophy was unveiled during a halftime ceremony. The former Arkansas coach was in attendance for the unveiling, which is part of the NCAA Tournament’s 75th anniversary celebration. A painting is being created for each of the previous 74 national champions and the 75th will be completed after the national championship game. Richardson said before the game he didn’t know what the Arkansas painting would look like, but “it’s more the University of Arkansas, all the players that played in that particular game along with the coaches.”
UP NEXT: Arkansas will wrap up its stretch of three games in six days against fourth-ranked Florida in Bud Walton Arena on Tuesday night. The Gators — who played Ole Miss on Saturday night — have raced out to a 7-0 start in conference play and will test Arkansas’ 12-1 record in Bud Walton Arena. Florida, which beat the Hogs 98-68 at home last year, will be Arkansas’ third top-10 opponent this season.
— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau