#7 Vols lose for 1st time, 71-63 to Alabama in SEC Home Opener

Vols G Santiago Vescovi / Credit: UT Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Three Vols scoring at least a dozen points and five thunderous blocks from senior Yves Pons weren’t enough for the seventh-ranked Tennessee basketball team, which fell at home to Alabama, 71-63, on Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Alabama (7-3, 2-0 SEC) used an efficient .500 (10-20) shooting mark from 3-point range to break things open in the second half to end Tennessee’s (7-1, 1-1 SEC) undefeated start to the season.

Victor Bailey Jr. led the Vols in scoring for the fourth time this season, dropping in 16 points while pulling in a career-high seven rebounds.

Santiago Vescovi added 13 points and four rebounds on the defensive end for UT. Freshman Keon Johnson added 12 points, a season-high eight rebounds and a pair of steals.

Pons scored six points to go along with his five blocks—all of which came in the second half.

Josiah-Jordan James was all over the stat sheet for the second consecutive game, grabbing eight rebounds, blocking two shots and nabbing a pair of steals.

The teams traded blows on both ends of the floor through the opening 12 minutes, combining to shoot 11-of-40 from the field amidst intense defense on both ends, with the Vols holding a slim, 16-14 advantage.

The remainder of the half provided much of the same energy, but the Tide ended up taking the slight 31-29 edge into the locker room.

Alabama took it to the Vols following the break, knocking down five consecutive attempts from 3-point range to extend its lead to 48-36 at the under-16 media timeout.

Bama withstood a number of late Tennessee runs to cement the 71-63 result, as the Vols were unable to trim their deficit below six points in the closing minutes.

Up Next: Tennessee returns to action on Wednesday with a home matchup with Arkansas. Tipoff from Thompson-Boling Arena is slated for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.


-UT Athletics

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