Vols turn back the Tide topping No. 1 Alabama, 68-59

Tennessee turned 19 Bama turnovers into 26 points while handing the Crimson Tide their first SEC loss.
Tennessee turned 19 Bama turnovers into 26 points while handing the Crimson Tide their first SEC loss.
Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 10:22 PM CST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Behind a dominant defensive effort and a second-half scoring run, the 10th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers bested No. 1 Alabama, 68-59, Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The Vols (20-6, 9-4 SEC) earned their sixth win over the Associated Press No. 1 team in program history and its second win over the top-ranked team at Thompson-Boling Arena. The victory also marked UT’s second top-five win of the year after defeating No. 3 Kansas at the Battle 4 Atlantis in November. For head coach Rick Barnes, he has now toppled 10 top-five opponents at the helm of the Vols, including the last five tries in a row.

Sophomore Jonas Aidoo was fantastic for Tennessee, recording his first career double-double and providing a spark in his second rotation of the second half. After coming back on the court, Aidoo drained both of his shots, secured three rebounds and stuffed Noah Clowney at the rim with 8:18 on the clock, leading to two points on the other end which helped the Vols finish off an 11-3 run in the middle of the period that provided the distance UT needed to win. For the game, the sophomore had 12 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.

Offensively, Zakai Zeigler and Santiago Vescovi led the way in scoring, each tallying 15 points. Both did so in nearly identical ways, as they both made three 3-pointers, four free throws and a field goal. Zeigler was spotless in spreading the rock, dishing out eight assists without committing a turnover. Vescovi, on the other hand, made noise on the glass, tying his season-high in rebounds with eight.

For the game, Alabama made just 17 field goals, its fewest of the season. The team shot 35.4 percent, its second-lowest percentage of the season, and National Player of the Year candidate Brandon Miller was held to just four made baskets on 11 attempts--largely thanks to the relentless defense of Vols sophomore Jahmai Mashack, who pestered and frustrated the projected NBA Lottery Pick throughout the game.

Up next, Tennessee hits the road, taking on Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky, Saturday at Rupp Arena. The game tips off at 1 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on WVLT and CBS.