Alabama locks down Tennessee 65-60 in OT
By BETH RUCKER
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- JaMychal Green scored six of Alabama's 10 free throws in overtime as the Crimson Tide beat Tennessee 65-60 on Saturday.
Alabama (15-7, 7-1 Southeastern Conference), which has already exceeded its conference win total from last season, owns the SEC's best league record and is off to its best start in league play since 2002. The Crimson Tide finished 12-4 and won the regular-season title that year.
The Tide led 42-31 with 15:10 left when a layup by Cameron Tatum sparked a 14-2 run for the Vols. Tatum dished the ball to Tobias Harris in the paint for a jumper that gave Tennessee a 45-44 lead with 9:32 to play.
Alabama twice built a six-point lead after that, the second one coming with 4:29 left in regulation off a jumper by Andrew Steele that would be the Tide's last field goal in the game. Tennessee (15-8, 4-3) got the final six points, and a layup by Tobias Harris with 43 seconds left to tied it at 55 and forced overtime.
After holding the momentum at the end of regulation, the Vols got sloppy with the ball and with their hands. Alabama was a perfect 10 for 10 on free throws in overtime, with Tony Mitchell and Trevor Releford each hitting a pair to complement Green's foul shots.
Mitchell came off the bench to score a career-high 24 points and had three blocks. Green had 14 points and Releford scored 13.
Harris scored with 19 points and 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. Cameron Tatum added 16 points for Tennessee, which played its second game without leading scorer Scotty Hopson, who sprained his left ankle in practice Tuesday.
Alabama shot 66.7 percent (16 of 24) and led by as many as 12 points in the first half while giving the Vols problems in the paint at both ends of the floor. The Crimson Tide scored 28 of its 40 paint points before halftime and limited Tennessee to just 36.7-percent shooting (11 of 30) in the first half.
The second half was a different story, as Alabama hit just 28.6 percent of its shots (8 of 28) between halftime and overtime. The Tide entered the game limiting opponents to 36.3-percent shooting -- the second-best average in the nation -- and the Vols only shot 34.6 percent in the second half before overtime.
It was Tennessee associate head coach Tony Jones' final game filling in for coach Bruce Pearl, who was suspended by SEC Commissioner Mike Slive for eight league games after admitting to lying to the NCAA during an ongoing investigation into recruiting practices. The Vols lost their first two under Jones then won five straight.
Updated February 5, 2011