Sophomore guard Levi Randolph had 15 points and five rebounds to lead Alabama to a 58-48 victory over Tennessee Saturday afternoon in the Quarterfinals of the 2013 SEC Tournament.
"You have to take your hat off to Tennessee," UA Head Coach Anthony Grant said. "I thought they came in to this game playing great basketball right now as a team, and we knew we would have to come out and compete at a high level today. I'm really proud of our guys for answering that bell. It was a highly contested game, physical game, a game of inches, and it's a good win."
Junior guard Trevor Releford had 14 points on the day and also grabbed four rebounds. He has scored in double figures in seven consecutive games. Sophomore forward Nick Jacobs had a career-high 12 rebounds, nine of which came in the second half, to go along with six points and three blocks.
Rebounding was a key going into today's quarterfinal contest. In the previous two games versus Tennessee, the Tide was outrebounded by a total of 30 (15 in each game). Today, Alabama was only outrebounded by two, 37-35.
The Crimson Tide opened up a close game with a 17-8 run early in the second half, turning a 33-33 game with 17:23 left into a 50-41 UA lead with 9:01 remaining. From there, UA played with poise, making timely shots and knocking down free throws to maintain a lead the rest of the way.
The Tide went 15-of-19 (78.9 percent) from the free-throw line, while Tennessee was 7-of-14 (50 percent). Alabama is now 20-3 on the year when shooting the same number or more free throws in a game than its opponents.
"I think we are really successful when we get out in transition, just play up-tempo, push the ball and try to get easy layups," UA guard Trevor Releford said. "We tried to do that today. For the most part it worked."
Alabama is now 9-1 when holding a team to under 50 points for a game this season.
The Crimson Tide will now face Florida on Saturday at noon CT in the semifinals of the SEC tournament. The Gators defeated LSU, 80-58, in the first game on Friday.
It's the second time the two teams have faced off this season. In the first game the Gators had a come-from-behind victory over the Tide, coming back from an eight-point deficit to pull out a 64-52 win in Gainesville on March 2.
The game will be televised on ABC and the radio broadcast will be carried on the Crimson Tide Sports Network.