KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — John Petty hit three critical 3-pointers and finished with 19 points, leading Alabama to a stunning victory over No. 7 Tennessee 71-63 Saturday night.
The Crimson Tide (7-3, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) turned a one-point halftime lead into a double-digit advantage midway through the second behind Petty’s trio of 3s and two more long-range makes by Joshua Primo.
Primo and Herbert Jones finished with 11 points, and Jahvon Quinerly scored 10.
Tennessee (7-1, 1-1) struggled from the field the entire game, hitting 21 of 66 shots (32%).
Victor Bailey Jr. scored 16 points and Santiago Vescovi had 13 for the Volunteers. Keon Johnson added 12 points. Yves Pons had four second-half blocks when Tennessee clawed its way back to single digits late in the game, but never got closer than six points.
The first half was painful on both sides.
Alabama’s 31-29 lead at the break happened with the Crimson Tide shooting 39% (12 of 31), while Tennessee struggled shooting 33% (11 of 33). Tennessee hadn’t trailed at halftime in any game this season.
The Vols had three turnovers and two missed shots before they scored their first points, almost 3 minutes into the game.
With 8:46 left in the first half, the score was tied at 14 as both teams labored to make anything happen.
Late in the first half, a couple calls — and non-calls — drew the ire of Tennessee coach Rick Barnes. He was animated while pleading his case with the officials during a timeout. Coming out of the stoppage of play, he was assessed a technical foul. As the half ended, he followed the officials off the floor continuing his rant.
Alabama: It’s still early, but the SEC campaign is already starting to shake itself out. The Crimson Tide will rely on this game, as well as quality wins over Ole Miss, Providence and UNLV, to be prepared for the grind ahead.
Tennessee: Freshman guard Jaden Springer, who has made an impact early this season, missed most of the game with an apparent injury to his left knee. How he responds from the injury will have a lot to do with the Vols’ chemistry down the road.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide will be home Tuesday to face Florida, which beat LSU on Saturday.
Tennessee: Last week, the Vols handed Missouri its first loss. Saturday, Mizzou knocked Arkansas from the ranks of the unbeaten. Wednesday, Tennessee will entertain the Razorbacks.
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