Vols' 'really nice regular season' included strong SEC finish

AP photo by Wade Payne / Arkansas guard Chris Lykes falls to the floor as Tennessee guard Josiah-Jordan James (30) looks up for the ball during the second half of the Vols' 78-74 win Saturday in Knoxville. The Vols and Razorbacks enter this week's SEC tournament seeded second and fourth among the 14 teams in Tampa, Fla.

KNOXVILLE - Five games into the Southeastern Conference portion of Tennessee's basketball schedule, the Volunteers had a 2-3 record and were walking off the Rupp Arena floor after a humbling 107-79 loss to Kentucky.

In a few days, the Vols will head to Tampa, Florida, as the SEC tournament's second seed, having won 12 of their past 13 league contests.

"They should be complimented for that," Vols coach Rick Barnes said after Saturday's 78-74 outlasting of Arkansas. "I hope our guys realize that they've had a really nice regular season, but we're in tournament play now, and if you let up and keep throwing lifelines at the wrong time, it ends your season.

"We do have to get better, and you guys saw that today."

The Vols led the Razorbacks by as many as 24 points before holding on to complete a 16-0 run this season inside Thompson-Boling Arena.