Final - OT
  for this game

Lofton leads Tennessee past Alabama

Feb 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."