The Alabama men's basketball team improved to 17-9 and 6-6 in Southeastern Conference play with a 62-50 win over Tennessee in front of 12,988 fans in Coleman Coliseum Saturday.
"It was great for the team to be locked in to our game plan and complete the task at hand," UA head coach Anthony Grant said. "They put in a lot of hard work this week. We had a great week of preparation."
Freshman guard Trevor Lacey scored 18 points, including a career-high nine made free throws, to go with four steals to lead the Crimson Tide. Sophomore point guard Trevor Releford added 13 points and five steals while junior guard Andrew Steele totaled 10 points along with career-high seven assists and five steals. Sophomore center Carl Engstrom notched career-highs in points (7), rebounds (7) and minutes (23).
"There were so many guys who stepped up today," Grant said. "It was great to see Moussa Gueye play hard and be aggressive defensively. Trevor Releford was a big boost for us emotionally. Trevor Lacey stepped up in a big way by being aggressive as well and taking control of the game the way he did against a good Tennessee team. All of our guys did a great job today."
Alabama totaled season highs in steals with 15, and made free throws with 23. Additionally, UA held the Volunteers to just 34.1% (15-of-44) shooting, the second-lowest total by an SEC opponent versus the Tide this season. Moreover, the Vols' 50 points are the fewest Alabama has allowed against an SEC foe this season.
The opening six minutes of action featured two ties and three lead changes before Tennessee scored seven straight points to take a 13-8 lead at the 12:19 juncture of the first half. Following the Volunteer scoring spurt, Alabama responded with a 10-0 run of its own over a four-and-a-half minute span to grab an 18-13 advantage at the 7:53 mark.
The Tide went on to build a 10-point lead in the first half before Tennessee outscored UA 8-2 over the final two minutes of the half to cut the Tide lead to 29-25 at intermission.
Coming out of the half, Tennessee quickly tied the score at 32-32 before the Tide reeled off 11 of the next 12 points, holding the Volunteers without a field goal for a seven-minute stretch, to take another 10-point lead. After a UT field goal briefly cut the UA advantage to eight, the Tide forced turnovers on four consecutive Vols possessions, capitalizing on each UT mistake to embark on a 9-0 run to take a commanding 52-35 lead at the 5:54 mark.
All told, Alabama forced nine turnovers, blocked four shots and held the Vols to just one field goal over a twelve-minute, second-half stretch, outscoring UT 20-3 in the process. Alabama would maintain a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game on its way to the victory.
Jeronne Maymon scored a game-high 20 points for the Volunteers (14-13 overall, 6-6 SEC).