For the first time this season, Alabama came up short against an SEC opponent with its 68-59 loss to No. 10 Tennessee on the road Wednesday. It was a battle of the SEC’s top offense against the SEC’s top defense, and tonight, defense prevailed. Just a couple days from becoming the No. 1 team in the nation, Alabama put up a season-low in points, 59, while becoming the eighth No.1 team to go down this season.
For the second game in a row, Alabama started off slow in the first half. Tennessee’s defense was as advertised, limiting the top offense in the SEC to just nine made baskets for 29 points, as well as turning the Tide over 12 times in the first half. Despite the tough start, Alabama was able to put a late first-half run together and go into halftime tied with Tennessee.
Before conference play started, one of Alabama’s big weaknesses was turnovers, but a big reason for their success in the SEC was how they had limited this problem. Going into Wednesday’s game against Tennessee Alabama had been consistent in turning it over less than 15 times in its last 12 games, but against the Vols, Alabama had one of its worst performances recording 19 turnovers, and it was the difference in the game as Tennessee converted the 19 Alabama turnovers into 24 points. Alabama was only able to convert the eight Tennessee turnovers into two points.
Jayden Bradley found success against the stingy Volunteers’ defense by driving to the basket and getting fouled. While only converting two shots from the field, Bradley was able to still chip in 14 points with 10 of his 14 coming from the free-throw line.
Being the SEC’s leading scorer you are going to have opposing teams center their attention around stopping you, but Brandon Miller had no problem beating the Tennessee defense despite their best efforts, unfortunately for Alabama, he was the only one that could solve the Tennessee defense. Miller had a team-high 15 points, while under his season average, his efficiency was back to its norm, hitting three of his eight three-point attempts. Miller also grabbed 10 rebounds to record yet another double-double, but his efforts were just not enough to lead the Tide to victory.
Alabama will try and bounce back from their first SEC loss Saturday, Feb. 18, as they return home to host the Georgia Bulldogs at Coleman Coliseum.
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