Tennessee rallies in second half to down Alabama 54-53
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Alabama men's basketball team dropped a 54-53 decision at Tennessee on Saturday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena. With the loss, the Crimson Tide falls to 12-7 on the year and 4-2 in Southeastern Conference play. Alabama was led by junior guard Trevor Releford, who collected team-highs of 18 points and five steals. The five steals are also a season-high for Releford.
"All credit goes to Tennessee, they made plays they had to make," Alabama head coach Anthony Grant said. "We got hurt in the backcourt, got hurt at the free throw line and just didn't come up with enough plays to be able to win it."
The Tide held a 25-19 lead at halftime, but Tennessee shot 54.5 percent in the second half and outscored Alabama, 35-28, for the come-from-behind win.
Sophomore guard Trevor Lacey had 11 points to go along with a team-high four assists. Sophomore guard Rodney Cooper had 10 points while shooting 50 percent (4-8) from the field.
Alabama really struggled to contain Tennessee on the boards, as the Vols outrebounded the Tide, 37-22. Tennessee also had 15 offensive rebounds, which helped them get 17 second chance points.
"We knew coming in, last time we played them, they had 16 offensive rebounds," said Grant. "They're a big, strong, physical team. I thought that there were some things that, watching from the sideline, we could do better. I'll have to watch it again on film. We've got to be able to battle. We're not going to get any taller, we're not getting any heaver, in being able to withstand some of that, so give them credit, they did a really good job."
Vols guard Jordan McCrae had 17 points, four assists, and two blocks, all of which were team-highs. Forward Jarnell Stokes had a double-double with 15 points and 18 rebounds.Alabama outshot Tennessee, 46 percent (21-45) to 42 percent (21-50), had more blocks, steals, and assists but couldn't put away the Vols.
Alabama is now 11-2 when collecting eight or more steals in a game.
Trevor Releford moved past Mark Gottfried and Chuck Davis on the all-time scoring list at Alabama. Releford now has 1,065 points which puts him 43rd overall.
The Crimson Tide will return home where it will take on Arkansas on Thursday at 8 p.m. on ESPN2. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased on RollTide.com, by phone by calling 1-877-TIDETIX (843-3849) or at the Athletic Ticket Office at Coleman Coliseum.