In truth, the game never should've come down to the final possession. Had the Vols made a reasonable percentage of their foul shots – they were just 10 of 22 – they would've led by five or six points entering the final seconds, instead of being tied at 67.
On this day, however, Tennessee wasn't hitting its shots from anywhere. The Big Orange made just 38.5 percent (25 of 65) from the field, 28 percent (7 of 25) from 3 and 45.4 percent from the foul line. Conversely, the Tide made 43.6 from the field, 40 percent from 3 and 84.2 percent from the line.
"We're disappointed, for sure," UT coach Bruce Pearl said on his post-game show. "I could understand the first four or five minutes – not having that energy – for a lot of reasons.... We just never did get our energy. I'm proud of the guys for the way they battled back but that's sort of the way this team has gone all year long; it's been up and it's been down."
This performance was mostly down.
Tennessee won the backboards 43-35 and forced 20 turnovers but struggled to solve a pesky 2-3 Alabama zone. The Vols were especially poor early, making just 1 of 11 shots from beyond the arc en route to a 39-29 halftime deficit.
After missing its first two 3-pointers of the second half, however, Tennessee hit three in a row to get back in the game. Down 43-31, the Vols got two free throws from Scotty Hopson, a pair of 3s from Wayne Chism on the left wing and a Hopson 3 from the right wing. That 11-0 spurt whittled the deficit to 43-42 but Brian Williams and J.P. Prince missed two free throws each to kill the rally.
Still, Tennessee rallied to grab its biggest lead of the game (52-48) on a Cameron Tatum 3-pointer with 9:42 remaining. The Vols missed six of their next 10 foul shots, however, and found themselves tied at 67-all when Bama's Alonzo Gee drained a 16-footer with 1:16 to play.
UT's Bobby Maze missed a 3-point try in the final minute but a traveling call against Alabama gave the ball back to the Vols. Tyler Smith got two good looks at the basket on the ensuing possession but Bama's JaMychal Green blocked the first and affected the second.
Since neither of Smith's inside shots drew iron, Alabama got the ball on a shot-clock violation with 4.2 seconds left – just enough time to set up Brock's game-winning bank shot, as things turned out.
Strangely enough, the two highest-profile players in the game had awful shooting performances. UT's Smith finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds but made just 3 of 15 shots. Bama's Gee was 4 of 17 from the field.
Tennessee finishes regular-season play 19-11 overall and 10-6 in SEC action, tied with South Carolina atop the Eastern Division. Bama improves to 17-13 and 7-9. Sunday's win gives the Tide four wins in its last five games under interim coach Philip Pearson.
There's a good chance the Vols and Tide will be meeting again. If Bama beats Vanderbilt in its SEC Tournament opener on Thursday night, the Tide will face Tennessee Friday at 7:30 in second-round play.