This is the story of Alabama’s big basketball Saturday that included a 12-point win over Tennessee. Read it here:
TUSCALOOSA — Still 10 seconds from making it official, Andrew Steele and Anthony Grant shared a double-barreled high five. They were almost giggling.
A trying week of suspensions, injuries and consecutive losses included another plot twist for the Alabama basketball program Saturday afternoon. The physically overwhelming 62-50 win ended Tennessee’s four-game winning streak while energizing the shorthanded Crimson Tide.
Playing without three starters, Alabama (17-9, 6-6 SEC) demoralized the Vols with an aggressive backcourt and a retooled frontline. The Tide had a season-high 15 steals among the 17 Tennessee turnovers with Andrew Steele and Trevor Lacey combining for 11.
“We had a lot of fun out there and it was contagious when you see people playing so hard out there,” said a smiling Steele, who added a career-best seven assists and 10 points. “It kinda rubs off on everybody else.”
Lacey also came a point shy of a career high with 18 on 9 of 12 free-throw shooting. He got there by penetrating instead of settling for jumpers like he’d recently done.
Still, it was his 3-pointer nine minutes into the game that erased Tennessee’s final lead in what became a rout. Tide runs of 10-0 and 6-0 put the hosts up 10 after trailing by as many as five.
Tennessee (14-13, 6-6) tied the game early in the second half before Alabama’s 19-2 outburst pumped life into the crowd of 12,988. The lead never dipped below eight after that. Alabama’s rabid intensity didn’t surprise Vol Jeronne Maymon,
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