TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Tennessee stood four minutes away from an SEC road win.
The Volunteers promptly failed to give themselves a chance to close it out.
Alabama's pressing defense came up with three successive steals that fueled a late 10-0 run, and Trae Golden's tying 3-point attempt at the buzzer drew iron as the Crimson Tide pushed Tennessee's losing skid to three games with a 66-63 win at Coleman Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.
"You've got to step up late in games," Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin. "It's not a case of beating the guys up because the effort was there, but you've got to take care of the basketball in late-game situations and give yourself a chance to win games. We came up short in that department."
The aptly named Andrew Steele pilfered Tennessee's Jordan McRae once and Josh Richardson twice, and the easy ensuing points gave the Tide (9-6, 1-1 SEC) enough of a cushion to hold on late. The Vols led 55-54 at the final media timeout before Steele scored six straight points and set up two of Trever Releford's 15 points. Steele's three steals during the decisive stretch were nearly identical, as the Tide trapped a Tennessee guard near the half-court stripe and picked his pocket.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...