NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WBRC) - The No. 6/5 Alabama men’s basketball team came back from a 15-point second half deficit and pulled out a narrow 73-68 win over No. 4 seed Tennessee in the 2021 SEC Tournament semifinal inside Bridgestone Arena Saturday. The win propels the Crimson Tide into the SEC Championship game for the first time since 2002 and will be in search of its first SEC tournament title in 30 years (1991).
Trailing a majority of the contest, Alabama gutted out the win by getting big stops and making clutch shots down the stretch to improve to 23-6 overall this season – the most wins since going 23-12 in 2012. Trailing by 15 points, 48-33 with 16:56 left to play, UA went on a 14-0 run over the next 4:51 to cut the deficit to one point with just over 12 minutes remaining.
With the game tied at 61-61 with 4:02 left, guard Keon Ellis capped a 9-2 Alabama run by knocking down a three-pointer to give the Tide the lead for good.
Herbert Jones tied his career-high scoring total with 21 points and collected his fourth double-double as he pulled down a season-best 13 rebounds. Jahvon Quinerly came off the bench to score 19 points which helped the Tide own a big 31-8 advantage in points by the bench.
“I thought Tennessee really came ready to play. Without (John) Fulkerson, I thought they had a great plan. They came out and played a lot better than us in the first half, shoot, even at the beginning of the second half. I think we got down 15, if that’s correct, before we went on the 14-0 run. A lot of respect, a lot of credit goes to Tennessee, how they came out and played. I think for us, it was one of those gut-check wins where the guys expect to win. I think it’s one of those deals where our guys have changed their attitude,” said Alabama head coach Nate Oats.
(University of Alabama Athletics)