The saga of Tennessee's struggles against Alabama in Coleman Coliseum added a new, painful chapter Tuesday. The Vols blew a 15-point second half lead and missed six of their last seven shots as the Crimson Tide rallied for a 63-58 win. Tennessee (10-10, 3-5) went through bouts of offensive ineptitude in both halves to drop a game it led for 31:02. So what went in to Rick Barnes' team's collapse? Let's take a look:
1. Second Half Meltdown
Alabama led for just 3:20 in the game, mostly toward the very end of the second half, due to an abysmal stretch of basketball by the Vols to close out the game. To say Tennessee couldn't buy a basket with Bill Gates' credit card would be an understatement. The Vols scored just two points in the final four minutes to end the game and struggled mighitly on the defensive end after taking a commanding lead. Crimson Tide guard Retin Obasohan shot 70 percent from the field in the second half and Shannon Hale knocked down some extremely timely 3-pointers, leaving Tennessee with its proverbial mouth agape with no answer. When Avery Johnson's team ended the game on a 14-2 run, it seemed to stun a Vols squad that simply couldn't score.
2. No Free Throws
In an upset of then-No. 24 South Carolina, Tennessee made 30 of its 32 free throw attempts. The Vols made every single charity stripe attempt against Alabama Tuesday, but it notched just five points. Tennessee simply couldn't get to the free throw line, something this team almost has to do to stay in games if it isn't shooting well. In an attempt to exploit the perimeter, Tennessee failed to attack the rim and draw fouls and it showed in the collapse.
3. No Trey Day
Alabama came into this game as one of the top 50 defenses in the country, ranked No. 32 in adjusted defense per kenpom.com. The Tide proved to be one of Tennessee's stiffest tests and it showed up in the box score. The Vols shot a whopping 33 3-pointers but made only eight. Alabama was an equally abysmal 4-of-21 from behind the arc, but the Tide's big men were able to control the paint for a 34-18 advantage. After knocking down five treys in the first six minutes, Tennessee went ice cold.
4. No Answer
When Avery Johnson began double-teaming Kevin Punter in the second half, Tennessee simply had no answer. The flow of the offense was disrupted by this wrinkle and the Vols' offensive production went to almost zero. Getting outscored 16-2 in the final 4:16 certainly didn't help.