Shorthanded Vols Fall at Alabama, 73-68

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Despite being down two starters, 14th-ranked Tennessee battled before falling on the road to No. 19 Alabama, 73-68, late Wednesday.
 
Junior forward Olivier Nkamhoua led the Vols in scoring and rebounding with 15 points and nine boards. Junior guard Santiago Vescovi also had a productive night, contributing 13 points and six rebounds.

Vols F Olivier Nkamhoua / Credit: UT Athletics


 
Making his first career start, freshman guard Zakai Zeigler scored 11 points and had four assists.
 
Senior Noah Gurley led Alabama with 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting.
 
Tennessee was playing the game without two of its season-long starters—freshman guard Kennedy Chandler and super senior forward John Fulkerson.
 
After entering the halftime break tied at 33 with Alabama, Tennessee did not trail for the first 18:58 of the second half, but never led by more than six points.
 
Facing its largest deficit of the second half at 63-57 with just over six minutes remaining, Alabama strung together a 10-2 run—capped off by a Jaden Shackelford layup that gave the Tide a 67-65 lead with 1:02 remaining.
 
Tennessee quickly responded with a 3-pointer from Nkamhoua with 50 seconds remaining to regain the lead at 68-67, but Alabama fired back once more with a deep three from Keon Ellis to pull in front, 70-68.
 
After the Vols missed a 3-point attempt on the other end and Alabama’s JD Davison went 1-for-2 at the line, Zeigler missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer.
 
Despite Tennessee leading by as many as 10 in the first half, the two teams went into the halftime break tied at 33 apiece.
 
The Vols and Tide played a tightly-contested first 12 minutes before Tennessee used a quick 10-3 spurt to take a 33-23 lead at the 3:23 mark.
 
After hitting just two of its first 12 field goal attempts, Tennessee rebounded by making 11 of its next 16 shots, capped off by a Brandon Huntley-Hatfield layup that extended the Vols’ lead to 10.
 
Alabama however quickly responded with a 10-0 run to end the first half that knotted up the score at the break.
 
UP NEXT: Tennessee returns home for its SEC home opener against Ole Miss on Wednesday, Jan. 5. The game is set for a 7 p.m. ET tipoff and will air on SEC Network.
 
VOLS CONTINUING TO CREATE TAKEAWAYS: With 10 steals on Saturday, Tennessee recorded its seventh game of 10 or more steals this season.

-UT Athletics

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