Alabama stifled Tennessee’s offense in Coach Tyndall’s first SEC home game, defeating the Vols by 18 points.
Tennessee held their own in the first half and only faced a 5-point deficit at the break, but Alabama’s zone proved to be too tough to handle as the game wore on.
This season, Tennessee’s offense has seemed to be something like Josh Richardson and a sidekick, whether that be Armani Moore, Kevin Punter or Detrick Mostella. Richardson has always had some help. The first half saw Armani Moore as the supporting force. He had 6 of Tennessee’s first half points going 3-5 from the field. Richardson had 9 points, going 3-5 from the floor as well. The Vols rallied late in the first to cut the deficit to 5.
Josh Richardson started the second half very strong, scoring 8 straight points, which gave the Vols a 2-point lead. Tennessee kept up with Alabama for 5 minutes of the half before their offensive woes really started, and Richardson couldn’t find a sidekick. Between a basket by Derek Reese at 14:44 and a layup by Armani Moore with 37 seconds left in the game, the Vols went over 14 minutes without scoring a basket. This allowed Alabama to go on an 18-0 run in which Tennessee missed 15 consecutive shots and eventually handed Alabama the game. The 14 points Tennessee scored in the second half is the fewest for the Vols in a game this season.
Josh Richardson finished with 17 points going 6-13 from the floor in the losing effort. Armani Moore, who was scoreless in last game’s win against Mississippi State, scored 8 points on 4-7 shooting and also grabbed 9 rebounds. Robert Hubbs III went a dismal 2-10 from the field, scoring 5 points. Willie Carmichael III went scoreless and was in foul trouble throughout the game. Detrick Mostella also went scoreless and recorded 3 turnovers. He only played 8 minutes, probably due to his sprained ankle which he suffered this week. Tennessee shot a miserable 14-45 from the field and 2-17 from beyond the arc. They recorded 13 turnovers and only 7 assists.
For Alabama, Ricky Tarrant scored 14 points on 4-11 shooting, and Rodney Cooper scored a team-high 17 points on 7-10 shooting including an impressive 3-5 from three-point range. Alabama rode Cooper and his shooting all the way to the end. They also didn’t have a bench player score all game and had 3 players in double figures.
Coach Tyndall knew that this Alabama team would be a challenge. They were athletic and tough and also played a great zone on defense.
“I told the team this week that we couldn’t out-toughen this team,” said Tydnall. “We had to beat this team.”
Even though Tennessee is usually known as a second half team, it was the opposite today, and Armani Moor said he thought it was simply due to poor execution.
“They didn’t take our confidence tonight,” he said. “We were trying to do too much and weren’t executing.”
Tennessee plays next on Tuesday in Knoxville at 7 p.m. against a tough Arkansas team.
Edited by Maggie Jones