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No. 21 Arkansas escapes Tennessee 80-72 in SEC Tournament

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Arkansas Razorbacks can thank Bobby Portis for starting off what appeared to be a lopsided tournament win against Tennessee.

They’re even more thankful to be strong free throw shooters, which helped them overcome blowing that big lead in the second half.

“I looked at the stats and the stats I’m most proud of, we were 32 of 39 from the free-throw line,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said after his team outlasted the Volunteers 80-72 in Friday night’s quarterfinal. “Big difference in the game.”

That was especially true down the stretch after Rashad Madden’s four late free throws set the tone for Arkansas’ clutch performance at the line that offset failures from the field.

The second-seeded Razorbacks (25-7) led 55-35 early in the second half before missing 12 of their final 15 shots, including none in the final 7:18, a drought that allowed the Volunteers to rally within four at 69-65 with 3

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