Knoxville, Tenn. – Sophomore Jarnell Stokes exerted his power on both ends of the court to lift the Vols to a dramatic 54-53 victory over Alabama on Saturday afternoon. Tennessee (10-8, 2-4 SEC) ended the Tide’s four-game win streak and dropped Bama to 12-7 overall and 4-2 in the league.
Stokes posted his fifth double-double of the season with 15 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. He adroitly defended Alabama’s last opportunity with a chance to win the game as he guarded Trevor Lacey until the game clock expired as Tennessee captured a much-needed victory.
McRae’s runner in the lane put the Vols ahead for good at 52-50 with 57.7 left in regulation.
Alabama’s Rodney Cooper missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 47.2 left as Stokes grabbed his 18th rebound of the game. Trae Golden was fouled and made two free throws with 31.4 left on the clock for a two possession advantage, 54-50.
Bama’s Trevor Releford came back with a 3-pointer with 18.5 left cutting it back to 54-53.
Golden went back to the line with 15.4 left and missed as Alabama got the rebound.
Lacey had a chance to win the game for Alabama as he was defended by Stokes. He drove to the basket and no foul was called with Stokes attempting to draw a charge with his hands in the air.
Releford led the Tide with 18 points. Trevor Lacey (11) and Cooper (10) also scored in double-figures.
The Vols took their first lead since 2-0 on a Stokes layup with 3:22 left in the second half, at 48-47.
On the next Alabama possession, Stokes stole the ball from Andrew Steele then pump faked and hit a jumper as the shot clock expired for a 50-47 Vols’ lead with 2:27 left.
Lacey answered with a 3-pointer with 1:56 left to deadlock the game at 50.
The Vols hung tight with the Tide throughout the second half, standing within seven points for the first 16-plus minutes before Stokes gave the Vols a lead.
McRae knocked down a 3-pointer with 5:47 left to cut the deficit to 46-42. Richardson’s jumper cut it to three at 47-44 with five minutes left. McRae cut the margin to one at 47-46 with 4:07 remaining.
The Vols defense held an opponent to less than 60 points for the ninth time this season. The shooting defense was stellar late in each half. Tennessee kept Alabama without a field goal for the final 5:10 of the first half and to just two field goals for the final 9:04 of the second half.
Tennessee scored the first seven points of the second half to tie the game at 26 on a layup by Kenny Hall two minutes into the stanza. Alabama quickly regained the lead and held it until 3:22 left in regulation.
The Vols trailed Alabama, 25-19 at halftime thanks to McRae’s first points of the game on a last-second runner. Releford led all scorers with 10 at intermission.
Alabama took a 21-13 lead on a 3-pointer with Cooper with six minutes left in the first half. The Tide finished a 7-0 run on a layup by Moussa Gueye a minute later for a 10-point edge.
The Vols started just 2-of-12 from the floor and trailed 10-5 eight minutes into the action.
Saturday’s game was part of NABC Coaches vs. Cancer weekend. UT head coach Cuonzo Martin and his staff wore “Suits and Sneakers” as part of the annual recognition. A cancer survivor, Martin had his professional playing career cut short due to a bout with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He received his last treatment April 20, 1998, and is now in full remission.
The Vols return to action with their third game in six days on Tuesday as Tennessee welcomes Vanderbilt for a 6:00 PM tip-off.
Courtesy UT Media Relations