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It was a big night for SEC basketball as the No. 14 Tennessee Volunteers faced off against the No. 19 Alabama Crimson Tide. The game ended no different than their SEC Tournament matchup back in March, with the Tide winning 73-68 against the Vols.
The Vols were short two of their leading scorers in Kennedy Chandler and John Fulkerson after they tested positive for COVID. Rick Barnes’ squad led a hard-fought, physical battle to give a healthier Bama team a true challenge.
Throughout the night, the contest was close, with the first half concluding tied at 33.
Olivier Nkamhoua had an uneven shooting night (6-of-17) but hit crucial shots late — leading the Vols in scoring with 15 points.
Victor Bailey, Jr. was 2-of-7 on the night and 1-of-4 from beyond the arc, making Tennessee fans pull their hair as Justin Powell remained on the bench. Bailey, Jr. ended the night with seven points.
Stepping up for the Tide was Noah Gurley and Jahvon Quinerly. Gurley led all scorers with 20 points off the bench while Quinerly scored 18 and played vital defense in crunch time.
Errant shot selections by the Vols led to cold streaks in the second half that allowed the Crimson Tide back in the game. Alabama had their struggles mostly in the first half, including JD Davison’s eight turnovers on the night.
With less than two minutes to go, tied at 65, Gurley had a block on Uros Plavsic to hold off the Vols.
Bama’s Jaden Shackleford led a strong drive in the paint to go up 67-65 until Nkamhoua responded with a three.
A kick-out to Keon Ellis nailed the three to give Bama the 70-68 lead. Tennessee’s Zakai Zeigler missed the potential game-tying shot — giving Alabama the win, 73-68.
Bama shot 22 percent from beyond the arc and didn’t flash their offense until the final minutes, but a resilient defensive performance helped the Crimson Tide keep their edge over the Vols.
Photo provided by @AlabamaMBB
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela