Tide Buries Vols At SEC Tourney

Rod Grizzard, who has been in something of a shooting slump, broke out in a big way Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Men's Basketball Tournament in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Grizzard scored a career-high 33 points as Alabama took a 91-72 win over the Vols.

Alabama is now 25-6 on the season and 13-4 in SEC games. The Tide will meet the winner of tonight's Kentucky-South Carolina game in the semifinals. Tipoff for Bama's next game on Saturday will be at 3:15 p.m. EST (2:15 p.m. central) with regional coverage by Jefferson-Pilot. In regular season play, Alabama defeated Kentucky, 64-61, in Lexington, and defeated South Carolina, 52-51, in Columbia.

Alabama, winner of the SEC regular season championship, is playing for the highest possible seed in the NCAA Tournament. NCAA selections will be announced Sunday, shortly after the SEC Championship Game.

Grizzard had an amazing stretch in the first half as Bama broke the game open. The junior wing player scored 20 straight points for Alabama. He connected on five consecutive three-point shots. On the fifth trey he was fouled and made the free throw for a four-point play. Grizzard connected on 13 of 20 field goals, including six-of-10 three-pointers.

Bama had defeated Tennessee by a 95-82 margin in regular season play as the Crimson Tide was the only SEC team to post a victory against every other team in the league this year.

Alabama led by as many as 22 points late in the first half and had a 49-29 lead at halftime. In the second half the Tide had as much as a 31-point lead before the Vols closed the gap in the final minutes. The game was tied only at 2-2 and Tennessee never led.

Also scoring in double figures were Mo Williams and Kenny Walker with 13 points each and Earnest Shelton coming off the bench to get 10 points. Walker got all his points in the second half before fouling out.

SEC Player of the Year Erwin Dudley was something of a non-factor as a scorer with only six points, but did pull down 12 rebounds as Alabama won the battle of the boards, 45-33. Terrance Meade had only two points, but contributed a career-high 10 rebounds.

The rebounding margin was part of the reason Alabama was able to take 20 more field goal attempts than Tennessee. Bama hit 43 per cent on field goals, including 38 per cent (11 of 29 on three-point attempts) and hit 14 of 15 free throws, 93 per cent. Tennessee hit 45 per cent from the field, including 29 per cent (4 of 14) on three-pointers, and only 55 per cent (16-29) on free throws.

Alabama made 27 points off Tennessee's 14 turnovers, while the Vols were able to convert Bama's 12 turnovers into only 12 points. Tennessee outscored Alabama by one point in the paint, 34-33, but the Tide had 25 second effort points, Tennessee only 19.

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