In an unidentifiable game, the biggest identity on the floor stole the show.
Led by 34 points from Jordan McRae, the Tennessee Vols rallied back from a second-half deficit to pull out a 81-74 victory Wednesday night in Thompson-Boling Arena.
Neither team looked keen on taking over a game that was up for grabs, so McRae did so himself. The senior scored 24 of his season-high 34 in the final period, including the Vols' final 13 points.
UT head coach Cuonzo Martin, however, had no problem with his star player taking matters into his own hands.
"We'll always do it, every time," Martin said of turning to McRae late in games. "If it gets slow, he's coming in the game because he raises the energy level.
"He's ready to battle, and he's going to kick up some dust one way or another."
The Vols (12-6, 3-2 SEC) and Razorbacks (12-6, 1-4) both did plenty of battling in a game that seemed to change momentum by the minute. But an 11-0 run early in the second half from Arkansas put the road team in control heading down the stretch.
Arkansas held that lead until a key moment with right under three minutes remaining.
Sporting a 68-66 lead, Razorback guard Kikko Haydar pulled UT forward Jeronne Maymon down and drew an intentional foul that gave UT two foul shots and the possession.
Maymon made both to tie up the game. On the resulting possession, McRae nailed a 3-pointer to begin his streak of 13 straight points that put Arkansas away.
"That was really big for us," Maymon said of the intentional foul. "After the free throws, we got the ball there and Jordan hit a three. So that really got our juices flowing and the crowd back into it.
"Then we came down and got a stop, and it was over from there."
Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson had a different take on the UT run, not being shy about his thoughts on the call on Haydar.
"McRae played well, but the MVP was the flagrant foul call," Anderson said. "You get in two or three minutes and that's one that should play on. I just thought it changed the whole dynamic of how the game was going."
Maymon posted 17 points and nine rebounds, but post partner Jarnell Stokes added just seven points and six boards. The Razorbacks packed it in to prevent the Vols' bigs from wreaking havoc, and it worked well enough to give Arkansas a late lead.
But when the Vol guards are connecting from outside, it's pick your poison for opposing defenses. And McRae was certainly on in the second half, going 5-for-8 from the field and hitting 10 of 12 free throws.
"I knew with how they were guarding Jarnell (Stokes)," McRae said, "it would be hard for him to score, and Jeronne as well. This is a game that we didn't want to lose at home, especially home games like this.
"We needed this win."
Arkansas started each half hot from the field, hitting six of its first eight shots in the opening half and began the second half 4-for-6 as the Vols struggled to find answers on defense.
But UT saved its best for last, holding the Razorbacks to two garbage-time field goals in the last 5:04 of the game as the Vols went on their game-winning run.
That run would not have existed without McRae, who climbed from sixth to third in the SEC in scoring with his 34-point outburst.
Many inside Thompson-Boling Arena were captivated by McRae's big game. But Maymon, who has been McRae's teammate for four years, didn't see anything too out of the ordinary.
"I've seen a lot of outstanding things from him over the years, so it's no surprise," Maymon said. "I expect him to go make free throws. I expect him to make open threes, or contested threes. He's just a really good player all around."
Next up for the Vols is another weekend road trip to face the No. 6 Florida Gators, who haven't lost since Dec. 2.
The grind never ceases in SEC play, but Martin won't argue with preparing on the heels of a victory.
"When you lose games, it takes a toll on you physically and mentally," Martin said. "But when you win them, you can learn from it and still push forward. That's the good thing about it.
"We had some breakdowns offensively and defensively. But again, it's better to learn from it after the 'W.'"