Alabama Basketball Still SEC's Finest
Alabama continued to have the best record in the Southeastern Conference at the halfway mark of league play with a 65-55 overtime victory over Tennessee in Knoxville Saturday. The win improved Bama to 7-1 in SEC play and 15-7 overall.
Alabama is now 3-1 in SEC road games and 3-0 against the SEC Eastern Division.
Alabama could not buy a basket, failing to score from the field in the final 4:19 of regulation and all five minutes of overtime. But Bama hit 10-10 free throws -- JaMychal Green making the first four -- in the extra period to get the victory.
Tenessee fell to 5-3 in the conference and 15-8 overall. A full house of 21,498--including Vols Football Coach Derek Dooley--witnessed the game at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Green did not have a great statistics line except for making 8-11 free throws. He was only 3-12 from the field and had only four rebounds and also had four turnovers, including key miscues late in regulation.
Sophomore forward Tony Mitchell led the Crimson Tide with a career high 24 point performance. Mitchell did not start the game as Andrew Steele took his spot, but Mitchell played 36 minutes.
Trevor Releford had 13 points, but the freshman point guard had only one assist and was charged with four turnovers. Charvez Davis, who had connected on 5-8 three-point shots in Bama's previous outing, did not score, taking only two shots.
Senior Chris Hines pulled down eight rebounds which led the team despite fouling out in overtime. He also had five steals. Senario Hillman came off the bench to hit 4-5 field goals and had two steals and two rebounds to go with his eight points.
"You have to give credit to all our guys," Bama Coach Anthony Grant said. "Everybody on our team who got on the court did something in the course of the game that made a difference tonight to give us the win."
The Tide held a 38-27 advantage over the Volunteers at the half, shooting 66.7 per cent (16-24) from the field in the opening period. The hot shooting went cold in the second half however, when Alabama connected on only eight field goal attempts, shooting 28.6 percent from the field.
Alabama scored only 17 points in the second half.
For the game, Bama hit 24-56 from the field for 42.9 per cent, but only 3-14 on three-point shots for 21.4 per cent. The Tide was 14-19 on free throws, 73.7 per cent. Tennessee was held to 22-63, only 34.9 per cent, including 4-20 on three point shots for 20 per cent. The Vols made 12-20 free throws, 60 per cent.
Mitchell and Green had three blocked shots each as Bama blocked seven Tennessee shots.
The Vols played without their head coach, Bruce Pearl, who was serving the final game of an eight-game SEC suspension for recruiting violations, and without their best player, Scotty Hopson, who has an injured ankle.
Tennessee had a huge advantage in rebounding, 48-33, but the Tide outscored the Vols 40-34 in the paint. Tennessee did have more second chance points, 12-2, but Alabama had 22 points off Tennessee's 18 turnovers and the Vols had 13 points off Bama's 15 turnovers.
the score was tied three times and the lead changed hands eight times. Tennessee's largest lead was five points, early in the game, while Bama led by as many as a dozen, late in the first half.
Alabama travels to Nashville on Thursday to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores. The game is slated for an 8 p.m. CST tip and will be nationally televised by ESPN.
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