Lofton leads Tennessee past AlabamaFeb 22, 2007 - 7:41 AM KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Chris Lofton and Tennessee were looking to remain perfect at home and bolster their NCAA tournament resume. They did both.
Lofton scored 20 points and the Volunteers improved to 15-0 at Thompson-Boling Arena with a 69-66 overtime victory over No. 25 Alabama in a Southeastern Conference matchup.
Tennessee (19-8, 7-6 SEC East) led by as many as nine in the second half but Alabama rallied.
"Those were two teams fighting for their NCAA lives out there," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. "To get into the field of 65 would be special, but we are not there yet."
Ronald Steele made his only basket of the game for Alabama (19-8, 6-7 West) with 7.4 seconds to go in regulation to tie the game, 60-60. Tennessee had a chance to win but Lofton missed a jumper at the buzzer.
The Crimson Tide jumped out to a 64-60 lead in overtime but the Volunteers battled back. Lofton hit a 3-pointer and a follow shot by freshman Duke Crews gave Tennessee the lead for good with 1:51 remaining.
"We are a good basketball team. With Chris Lofton playing well, we can be a very good team," Pearl said. "It was a good team effort."
Jermareo Davidson, who had eight points and 15 rebounds, pulled Alabama to 67-66 with a pair of free throws with 9.6 seconds left. The Crimson Tide tried to press but Crews got free and threw down a spinning dunk to ice it.
"We wanted to foul that last possession," Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said. "There was a little confusion. We had some young guys on the floor and I think they got confused."
Mykal Riley scored 15 points and Richard Hendrix added 10 points and 10 rebounds for Alabama, which committed a season-high 26 turnovers.
"To hold Richard Hendrix and Jermareo Davidson to as few touches as they had was outstanding," Pearl said. "Our effort was nothing short of tremendous."
The loss dropped Alabama out of a tie for the lead in the SEC West Division. Mississippi State upset Vanderbilt and Mississippi beat Georgia to remain on top, a game ahead of the Crimson Tide, who slipped to 1-6 in conference road games.
"I thought our guys played really hard," Gottfried said. "We had leads and got the ball right where you want to get it a number of times. So we had chances."
- NCAA BB
FINAL IN 1ST OT 1ST 2ND 1OT TOTAL
--- --- --- -----
ALABAMA (25) 26 34 6 66
TENNESSEE 30 30 9 69 FINAL IN 1ST OT
Feb 21 10:19 PM
- NCAA BB
ALABAMA (25) 60
TENNESSEE 60 END 2ND HALF, GOING INTO OVERTIME
Feb 21 10:01 PM
- NCAA BB
ALABAMA (25) 26
TENNESSEE 30 HALFTIME
Feb 21 8:50 PM
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- Forward Lew Evans transferring from Utah State to Tennessee May 12
- Alabama signs graduate transfer guard from Morehead State May 2
- Forward Ray Kasongo leaving Tennessee after 1 season Apr 21
- Alabama hires John Pelphrey as associate head coach Apr 13
- Alabama players Coleman, Kessens leaving program Mar 30
- Johnson taking the long view after first season at Alabama Mar 16
- Tennessee optimistic about future after rare losing season Mar 12
- Tennessee's Kevin Punter Jr. to have season-ending surgery Mar 4
- Tennessee relying more on its freshmen late in season Feb 29
- Tennessee head coaches will hold rare joint press conference Feb 22
- Obasohan helps lead Alabama into NCAA tourney contention Feb 18