Guard Jordan Bone scored a team-high 19 points and No. 13 Tennessee dominated Arkansas 84-66 Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
Regular season co-champions with Auburn, the Volunteers (25-7) will take a six-game winning streak into Sunday’s championship game against Kentucky — their 11th title game appearance and first since 2009. They won both meetings with the Wildcats in the regular season.
Bone virtually doubled his 6.7 per-game average with 13 points in the first 11 minutes of the game. Forward Admiral Schofield added 16 points for the Vols, who shot 57.1 percent from the field.
Guard Daryl Macon led the Razorbacks (23-11) with 19 points.
The Vols took a 29-19 lead at the 7:47 mark of the first half and led by double digits the rest of the way. Arkansas cut a 19-point halftime gap down to 11 early in the second half but could not get closer. Tennessee’s biggest lead was 20 twice late in the game.
Tennessee came out strong at both ends of the court. The Vols made 11 of their first 12 shots, including three 3-pointers, and ended the half 19-of-25 from the field overall (76.0 percent) and 7-of-8 on 3s for a 48-29 lead.
On defense, they blocked three Arkansas shots in the first two minutes on their way to six for the half, and they came up with five steals in forcing eight Arkansas turnovers in the opening period while limiting the Razorbacks to just 38.5 percent shooting for the half.
The Hogs ended the game shooting 40.8 percent for the game but committed only two turnovers in the second half.
Bone made all seven of his field-goal attempts (three from behind the arc) and had 17 of his points in the first half, and Schofield and guard James Daniel III had 11 points each. That more than made up for the slow start by leading scorer forward Grant Williams, who had only three points by the intermission on his way to 12 for the game.
—Field Level Media