Following the game, Crimson Tide Coach Anthony Grant said, “Any time you win on the road it is good for your confidence.” If nothing else, that proved that Grant has a good memory, because it had been 19 road games, since Feb. 12, 2013, since Bama had won on the road.
The Vols have to hope they never see another Cooper wearing Crimson and White in Knoxville. Last October, Amari Cooper had 9 receptions for an Alabama record 224 yards and two touchdowns in the Tide’s football win. Saturday it was senior forward Rodney Cooper doing the damage for Bama with 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Alabama improved to 12-3 overall and 2-0 in Southeastern Conference games while Tennessee fell to 9-5 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
Bama continues on the road going to South Carolina for a Tuesday game. Tipoff will be at 8 p.m. CST(9 eastern). ESPNU will televise the game.
Cooper’s 17 points came on 7-10 field goal shooting including 3-5 from three-point range. Ricky Tarrant added 14 points, and Jimmie Taylor put up 13 on 5-of-5 from the field. All Bama points came from the four starters with Levi Randolph getting 9 and Michael Kessens having 3.
Josh Richardson was the only Vol in double figures with 17 points.
Alabama hit 20-48 field goals (41.7 per cent) and 6-22 three-point shots (27.3 per cent) and 10-12 on free throws (83.3 per cent). All Bama free throw attempts came in the second half. The Vols were held to 14-45 field goals (31.1 per cent), 2-17 on treys (11.8 per cent), and 8-11 free throws (72.7 per cent).
Alabama won the rebounding battle, 34-29. The Tide outscored Tennessee 22-14 in the paint.
The Vols had 13 turnovers and Bama scored 18 points off those miscues, while the Tide had 12 turnovers, UT scoring 7 off them. The Tide produced nine turnovers in the first half and scored 12 of its 29 off those takeaways through 20 minutes.
Alabama’s 20 field goals came off 15 assists, five by Cooper and four each by Tarrant and Levi Randolph.
Tennessee had a 36-35 lead with 13:39 to play and the Tide out-scored the Vols by 21-2 the rest of the way. UT’s lone basket in that stretch came with 37 seconds to play. Tennessee was 1-18 from the field in that final stretch.
Bama led by 29-24, but the Vols opened with an 8-1 run to take the lead. Those eight points would be the majority of the second half scoring of 14 Tennessee points.
Alabama led most of the game, having the advantage for 32 minutes. The game was tied for 3:33 and Tennessee led for 4:27. There were seven lead changes and the game was tied four times.
TIDE NOTES: Alabama’s starting lineup was junior Ricky Tarrant at point guard, sophomore Jimmie Taylor at center, sophomore Michael Kessens at forward, senior Levi Randolph at guard, and senior Rodney Cooper at wing.
The game was the first in which Bama has held an SEC opponent to under 40 points since Alabama defeated LSU, 57-38, on Jan. 27, 2010. The game was the 144th between Alabama and Tennessee. Bama has won five of the last seven and 13 of the last 19 in the series and now has an advantage of 77-67. Tennessee has the advantage in games played in Knoxville, 45-22.
Alabama now has a six-game winning streak, while the Tide snapped the Vols’ five-game winning streak.
The win was Alabama’s first in Knoxville since a 65-60 overtime win on Feb. 5, 2011, and Bama’s first road win (and SEC road win) since Bama defeated Georgia, 52-45, on Feb. 12, 2013.
Saturday’s margin of victory, 18 points by Alabama, was in stark contrast to the last four trips to Thompson-Boling Arena, games that had been decided by a total of only 12 points.
The Tide has held its last eight opponents to 61 or fewer points.
Attendance was 16,695.