Tennessee followed up its first win over a top 25 team last weekend by melting down in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Tuesday night.
The Volunteers surrendered a 15-point advantage with 13:27 left to play and fell apart in a 63-57 loss to Alabama. Coach Rick Barnes was dejected following his team’s collapse.
“We didn’t compete for 40 minutes and we lost a game we should’ve won,” Barnes said according to The Knoxville News Sentinel’s Grant Ramey. “We were terrible defensively. When we got the lead, we stopped guarding.”
The worst stretch on both sides of the floor came between the 13:27 and 5:32 marks of the second half, when the Crimson Tide staged a 14-0 run to trim the seemingly insurmountable deficit to just one point. The Volunteers answered that with a 7-0 run of their own over the next minute, but still couldn’t finish off the Tide.
Alabama guard Retin Obasohan and forward Shannon Hale scored 10 unanswered points to propel Alabama to a 57-55 lead with 1:24 remaining. Tennessee answered back seconds later, but Alabama’s Arthur Edwards responded with the eventual game-winning 3-pointer to complete the improbable comeback.
— Matt Barbato (@RealMattBarbato) January 27, 2016
It was an ugly performance overall for both teams even though Alabama will feel much better about it.
At halftime, the score read 25-24 in favor of Tennessee. Barnes described the first half as the worst basketball he had watched “in a while,” according to Ramey.
The Volunteers are now stuck in a mediocre 10-10 (3-5 SEC) record. Barnes said his team should never feel complacent with a large lead given its pedestrian record.
“We’re a .500 team,” Barnes said according to Ramey. “How can you relax?”
Tennessee won’t have the luxury of taking it easy the rest of the way.