Knoxville, TN – Three Vols scoring at least a dozen points and five thunderous blocks from senior Yves Pons weren’t enough for the seventh-ranked Tennessee men’s 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 for Tennessee Vols Basketball
The Tennessee men’s basketball team returns to action on Wednesday with a home matchup with Arkansas. Tipoff from Thompson-Boling Arena is slated for 6:00pm CT on ESPN2.