When the No. 3 Tennessee Volunteers built up a 15-point lead against unranked Alabama on Saturday afternoon in Knoxville, it looked like yet another rout was going to take place.
However, Alabama G John Petty wasn’t going to let that happen. He came out on fire in the second half, shooting the Crimson Tide back into the game.
Eventually, the Tide even took the lead over the Vols, but Tennessee managed to make it a back-and-forth game during the final five minutes. Admiral Schofield came alive, keeping the Vols in the game down the stretch, while the Tide were plagued by free-throw issues.
Star Tennessee big man Grant Williams fouled out with 11.3 seconds left, with the Vols up by one point. That gave the Tide the ball with a chance to win. Petty, the hero of the game for Alabama, though, committed a travel to give the Vols the ball back. Tennessee took care of business at the free-throw line to ice the 71-68 victory.
Alabama, of course, could have won in regulation if not for the fact that it shot 8-for-18 from the free-throw line. Petty’s effort kept them close, but couldn’t get them over the hump. Williams scored a team-high 21 points for the Vols before fouling out.
Tennessee is now in a great position to land the No. 1 ranking in the AP Poll, as current No. 1 Duke and No. 2 Michigan have both lost this week. The Vols are 16-1 overall and 5-0 in SEC play. The Tide fell to 11-6 overall and 2-3 in SEC action.