In a battle to take sole possession of first place in the SEC, No. 14 Alabama fell short 81-74 against No. 4 Tennessee.

Alabama’s performance on Saturday night was a big improvement from the previous beatdown they took in Knoxville earlier in the season but was still not enough to overcome the physicality of Tennessee.

Here are some takeaways from the game.

  1. Foul Trouble

Usually, you have to worry about foul trouble on the road, but Alabama received zero home-cooking Saturday night at Coleman Coliseum. Alabama committed 24 fouls to Tennessee’s 22. Grant Nelson stayed in foul trouble for most of the game after picking up his third foul early in the second half. Because of his foul trouble, Nelson was forced to spend most of the game on the bench. Eventually, Nelson fouled out with just under seven minutes to go in the game with only three points. With Nelson out of the game, Tennessee made their run, ultimately coming out victorious.

  1. Productive Night For Pringle

Nick Pringle has had his ups and downs on the season, to the point of even getting suspended for conduct detrimental to the team. Saturday, Pringle showed passion and desire to give his all for the team and his teammates. He put together one of his best performances of the season, scoring 13 points and pulling down nine rebounds off the bench.

  1. Bama Struggled to Win the 50/50 Balls

Nate Oats hands out hard hat points every game that are earned from essentially winning 50/50 balls and hustle plays. Saturday night, Alabama just couldn’t earn any hard hat points. Every 50/50 ball seemed to go Tennessee’s way. Multiple times, Alabama had a chance at a big rebound, and the ball ended up in a Tennessee player’s hands, sometimes resulting in a second-chance bucket.

  1. Knecht Contained

Tennessee guard and SEC Player of the Year favorite Dalton Knecht was held well below his 20.8 points per game averagen on Saturday night. Alabama’s game plan on Knecht was executed almost as well as you could hope for. Alabama limited Knecht to just 13 points, his lowest scoring performance of the season. Some of Alabama’s best defense against Knecht was driving the ball right at him on offense and getting him in foul trouble, limiting his minutes in the second half.

Next up for No. 14 Alabama is a road game at Florida on Tuesday at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN.

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