Vols fade, lose at Bama

Tennessee squandered a golden opportunity to post its first SEC road win of the season Saturday, fading in the second half and losing 83-70 at Alabama. The Tide had lost five games in a row coming in, including back-to-back setbacks on its homefloor.

The Vols, now 0-5 in SEC road games, played an aggressive first half and led 36-32 at the break. When Bama went to a 2-3 zone in the second half, however, the Vols lost their aggressiveness and their lead.

The momentum change was dramatic. UT point guard C.J. Watson did not record an assist in the second half. Meanwhile, Alabama pulled down nine offensive rebounds after intermission. The Tide dominated the final 20 minutes in all phases, outscoring UT 51-34 to win going away.

''I was very pleased with what we did the first 20 minutes,'' Vol head man Buzz Peterson said on his post-game show. ''I thought we were very physical defensively. We got into 'em and were able to get some transition buckets. Overall, I liked the way we were playing.''

The last 20 minutes was a complete turnaround, however.

''They took it to us,'' Peterson said. ''It was like they slapped us in the face. Those layups they were getting the second half on uncontested shots ... they didn't get any of those in the first half.''

Tennessee led 41-35 early in the second half but Bama went to the 2-3 zone at this point and outscored the Vols 18-6, gradually turning the six-point deficit into a 53-47 lead. Instead of attacking the zone, UT fired from long range ... usually missing.

''It seemed like every time we missed one of those long shots, it led to easy transition buekts (for Bama),'' Peterson said, adding that the long rebounds off Tennessee's misfires enabled the Tide transition game to get ''off to a running start.''

Still, Alabama led by a mere four points (62-58) with 8 minutes left. That's when Everett Brock sparked an 8-0 run that widened the gap to 70-58. Brock hit a dunk, two free throws and a 10-footer during the spurt.

The lead swelled to 15 (76-61) when Memphis native Earnest Shelton hit a 3-pointer with 3:44 remaining, and the Vols were dead in the water.

The outcome left each team with an overall record of 12-9 and a league record of 4-6. Tennessee will try to bounce back Wednesday, when it hosts Ole Miss at 7:30 p.m.

Brandon Crump scored 19 points to pace Tennessee, while Scooter McFadgon and Watson added 13 each. John Winchester added 9 points but sank just 1 of 7 floor shots.

Shelton scored 27 to pace the Tide. Chuck Davis added 20 and Kennedy Winston 16.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories