KNOXVILLE, TN- Grant Williams recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, Lew Evans added 13 points, and Tennessee surged in the second half to take a 59-54 win over Alabama in the Vols regular season finale Saturday in Thompson-Boling Arena.
Despite offensive struggles in the first half, Tennessee (16-15, 8-10 SEC) came roaring back outscoring Alabama (17-13, 10-8 SEC) 37-18 in the final period of play. Evans knocked down three of the team’s six second-half 3-pointers.
Williams recorded his fourth double-double of the year. Evans scored 13 points on 4-7 shooting while grabbing five rebounds in his final regular-season game in Thompson-Boling Arena. Admiral Schofield scored seven of his 10 points in the second half including an emphatic dunk that sealed the win with 10 seconds remaining.
Tennessee’s Senior Day saw a slow offensive start for both the Vols and Alabama. UT was only behind 13-10 after a Schofield 3-pointer with 11:48 left in the period ended a five-minute streak without a made basket. The Tide’s Ar’Mond Davis then answered with a 3-pointer of his own which sparked a 13-2 Alabama run to extend its lead to 26-12. The Tide led 36-22 heading into halftime. Alabama’s bench scored 23 during the first half.
The Volunteers’ offense limped through the first half. Williams led Tennessee with eight points going into the break, but the team only shot 20 percent from the field. That stands as the worst shooting half UT has experienced this year. The previous low was 23.5 percent versus Gonzaga in Nashville.
Three minutes after the intermission, Tennessee came charging back to flip the first half’s script. Evans knocked down a 3-pointer from the left wing to start a 21-7 run for the Vols. The run came to a head as Williams hit a three as the shot clock expired from the right corner to take a 48-47 lead with 8:35 remaining. During the streak, Williams blocked a dunk attempt by Donta Hall off an alley-oop and became the third Vol in school history to have 60 blocks in a season.
The Crimson Tide was able to regain the lead momentarily during a cold-shooting stretch by the Vols who were 0-of-8 over the next five minutes. Tennessee rallied back behind a flurry of threes to take the lead for good. Evans hit two clutch 3-pointers during the 11-1 run that helped the Vols finish the game on top. Schofield hit the go-ahead 3-pointer from the left corner with 1:58 remaining to put the Vols in front 54-53.